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Cranberry brules

Frozen cranberries can be used if fresh are not available; there is no need to defrost first, simply simmer for 3-4 minutes longer.
If the cream is very thick and stiff, stir well before using so it is easy to spoon.
Brules is from the French verb bruler to burn or scald and refers here to the delicious toffee-like topping.

ingredients

serves 4
250 g (9 oz) cranberries
5 tablespoons water
150 g (5 oz) light soft brown sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot

topping

150 ml (1/4 pint) soured cream
25 g (1 oz) light soft brown sugar
large pinch of ground mixed spice

method

1. Put the cranberries and 4 tablespoons water into a heavy-based saucepan. Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then stir in 150 g (5 oz) sugar and cook for a further 3 - 4 minutes.

2. Blend the arrowroot with the remaining water and stir into the
cranberry mixture. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 - 2 minutes until thickened and no longer cloudy, stirring constantly.

3. Cool the cranberry mixture for 30 minutes, then taste and stir in more sugar if liked. Divide the mixture equally between 4 ramekins or other small flameproof dishes.

4. Heat the grill to hot.

5. Spread the soured cream over the cranberry mixture, almost to the edges. Mix the sugar and spice and sprinkle evenly on top of the cream.

6. Place under the grill for a few seconds, until the sugar is melted and bubbling. Remove immediately from the heat, leave to settle for 1 - 2 minutes, then serve hot. Alternatively, serve chilled (see Variation).

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