The cranberry steeping liquid clings to the berries and helps the sugar adhere for a sparkling, jewel-like effect. You can use the liquid (which is drained from the cranberries) in cocktails or over ice cream. If you can't find mascarpone cheese, use regular cream cheese.
Cooking Light DECEMBER 2010
1. Combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. Combine the sugar syrup and cranberries in a small bowl. Cover and chill for 4 hours.
2. Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid for another use, if desired. Place sparkling sugar in a shallow dish. Add cranberries, rolling to coat. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.
3. Combine remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl, stirring well. Combine 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Heat remaining 2 cups milk in a medium heavy saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Stir egg yolk mixture into cornstarch mixture. Gradually add half of hot milk to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add egg yolk mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Spoon pudding into a bowl; place bowl in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until pudding cools, stirring occasionally. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap; chill 20 minutes.
4. Combine whipped topping and mascarpone in a bowl, stirring until well blended. Spoon about 1/3 cup pudding into each of 8 bowls or footed glasses; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons mascarpone mixture and about 2 tablespoons cranberries.
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