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~ Easy Cinnamon-Orange Berry-Blend Fruit Topping~

IMG_9266Berry season is about to begin.  Berries, the kind that grow on bushes.  For me, that means: blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.  The thing about berries is:  in the beginning, they ripen in "dribs and drabs" -- you never know how many of which ones your going to get, or, how many you're going to get at one time.  Here in my Happy Valley backyard, at their peak, I can count on enough blueberries to make a few pies, enough raspberries and/or blackberries for some smaller tarts or galettes, and, enough of all to sprinkle into a daily bowl of cereal too!

This easy-to-make sauce is neither fancy nor pretentious -- just a berry good recipe!

IMG_9210It's that "dribs and drabs" berry-ripening process, in conjunction with their very short shelf life, that caused me to start freezing freshly-picked berries a long time ago.  

PICT0523Eventually, I end up with enough of one or a combination of berries to make wonderful desserts or smoothies, or, this all-purpose fruit topping, which is great on pancakes, waffles, blintzes, chocolate brownies, ice cream, or, even just a slice of plain white cake.

Berries_1435584879-300x200While I make it using my own, hand-picked and frozen berries (It can be made with fresh berries too, but I use my fresh berries for loftier purposes), it's perfectly ok to use store-bought frozen berry blends.  

Six ingredients & 10 minutes is all you need to make a luscious topping:

IMG_92151/4  cup orange juice

2  tablespoons Grand Marnier (a sweet orange-flavored French liqueur) (Note: If you don't want to use liqueur, use 2 additional tablespoons of orange juice + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar to add the necessary sweetness.)

6 tablespoons orange marmalade, the best available*

1/2  teaspoon cinnamon

1/4  teaspoon ground cloves (optional)

a scant 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

6-8  cups frozen, not fresh, berries or berry blend:  blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries

* Note:  Besides adding the nice orange flavor, the marmalade causes the topping to thicken slightly as it cools, and, more if it is refrigerated until well-chilled.  If you still want the topping thicker, increase the amount of marmalade and it will deliver the result you like.  After the topping is chilled, 6 tablespoons of marmalade makes the juicy liquid like drizzly maple syrup.  

IMG_9224 IMG_9219~ Step 1. Place the orange juice, Grand Marnier, orange marmalade, cinnamon and salt in a 3-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides and a lid (this type of pan works better than a shallow skillet).  

Note:  If you are using a skillet, that's ok, just make sure you have a lid to fit it, because you will need it at the end of the recipe.

IMG_9230 IMG_9227                                          ~ Step 2. Over low heat, whisking constantly, allow the ingredients to melt together.  This will take less than 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high, whisking constantly until mixture becomes bubbly and foamy.  This will take less than 30 seconds.

~ Step 3.  Add the frozen berries and stir until they are coated in the warm sauce.  Continue to IMG_9233'cook' and stir for 1 minute.  Berries will not yet be thawed. Turn the heat off. Cover the pan and allow to rest on the still-warm stovetop for 10-12 minutes.

~ Step 5.  Berries will have thawed completely without breaking down and "melted" into the sauce, which is now pretty much just slightly above room temperature and ready to serve.  If you want to serve this sauce warmer than it is, gently reheat it for an oh-so-short period of time, as you don't want to destroy the texture of the delicate berries.  

Note: Sauce can be made several hours in advance and left at room temperature.  Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-4 days.  If you want to serve it warm, reheat it gently in the microwave, or, don't reheat it at all (which is how I like it the best) -- the choice is yours.  This is a juicy, sauce-like  topping, and, unlike jam or preserves, freezing it is not recommended. 

IMG_9246Easy Cinnamon-Orange Berry-Blend Fruit Topping:  Recipe yields 3-4 cups.

Special Equipment List:  3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight deep sides and lid; whisk; large spoon

PICT0689Cook's Note:  As I mentioned above, I always get a much bigger ratio of blueberries to raspberries or blackberries.  You can find my recipe for ~ The True-Blue, Very-American Blueberry Pie~ by clicking into Category 6!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos Courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015) 


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