While thinking about how original I can get with the millions of cranberry recipes out there, it struck me like a bolt of lightning. Okay, I am being dramatic, but it was that exciting. A few months ago, I made an incredible (narcissistic self appraisal) Earl Grey Date Sauce as an ice-cream topping for a DIY Dessert Party at 18 Reasons. I don’t believe I have much dessert talent, except for eating incredible amounts of it at once, but the sauce was really well received. Someone even called it “Top Chef” caliber. So, I just added cranberries to the sauce and viola, I had an original homemade cranberry sauce. This sauce is not as simple or fast as most other cranberry sauces, but it’s worth it. It really only takes five minutes longer. This sauce actually gets better with a night in the refrigerator and it will keep your guests guessing on the mysterious Earl Grey flavor. It’s subtle and seductive. Use it as a side dish, dessert topping, or any other way you prefer.
Earl Grey Cranberry Sauce with Dates
Ingredients Serves 6-10
1-2 tsp Earl Grey tea leaves
1/3 cup boiling hot water (for tea leaves)
3/4 cup cranberries (1 bag)
3/4 cup whole dates
1 tsp ground cardamom
2/3 cup water
Grade B maple syrup to taste (optional)
1. Add tea leaves in the boiling hot water in a mug. Cover and steep for 15-20 minutes, depending on how much intensity you want. I like it intense.
2. Meanwhile, seed and chop the dates into quarters (tinier chunks if you don’t like the texture of dates). Wash cranberries under cool, running water. Add dates, cardamom, water, and only 1/2 cup of the cranberries to the saucepan.
3. Stir mixture together and turn heat on high until it reaches a rolling boil. Turn heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on the sauce. If too much water has evaporated, add a couple of tablespoons of water, and cover. The sauce should be thick and about half of the water evaporated. Simmer for a few more minutes if it’s too liquidy. Stir occasionally.
4. After the tea is done steeping, strain it and pour the tea water into the sauce pan. Add in the remaining cranberries. Stir well and bring to a rolling boil again. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness and add desired amount of maple syrup if needed. Stir.
5. Transfer the sauce to a glass container or jar, cool, and refrigerate for at least an hour. The sauce will thicken and flavors will develop over time.
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