Grand Marnier-Spiked Cranberry and Pear Compote

(This recipe can absolutely be made without the Grand Marnier; just leave it out, if you prefer, for an equally delicious, spiced compote.)

(Serves about 6-8)

Ingredients:

16 oz. fresh cranberries (a 12 oz package, plus 1 cup)
2 red or gold Bartlett pears, finely diced
Zest of 1 orange
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ tablespoons Grand Marnier orange liqueur (optional)

Preparation:

-Add the cranberries, the diced Bartlett pears, the orange zest, the sugar, the orange juice and the cinnamon into a medium-large pot, and set it over medium-high heat; stir the ingredients gently to incorporate the sugar and the spices together, and bring the cranberry/pear mixture to the boil; once it comes to the boil, reduce the heat to low/medium-low, and allow the mixture to gently simmer, uncovered, until the cranberries begin to “pop” and split, and soften slightly, for about 7-8 minutes; turn off the heat, and pour the cranberry mixture into a clean bowl, and allow it to cool completely (the mixture will continue to thicken up due to the natural pectins in the fruit, as it cools); once completely cooled (it may take a couple of hours, and can be expedited in the fridge), you can gently mash the compote slightly to make it chunky/smooth, or leave it as is for a more “whole berry” consistency, your choice (I mashed mine slightly); finally, finish the chilled compote by adding in the Grand Marnier, if using, and gently stir to blend well; serve compote cold.