If you are looking for something new and crazy, a bit spicy, a bit sweet, but complete with requisite Valentine’s chocolate, look no further—it is time for saying love with a fermented valentine.
Love your sweetie—love their guts!
Chocolate Cranberry Mole
Yield: About 1½ pints
4 cups (1 pound) fresh cranberries
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried unsweetened cherries (or increase dried cranberries)
5 tablespoons (2 ounces) pasilla chile powder
2¼ teaspoons cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup fresh orange juice
Process all of the ingredients to a paste consistency in a food processor. Sprinkle in the salt, since the cell walls of the ingredients are already broken down the paste will become moist right away. However, this type of ferment will not look juicy, instead it will be drier than you think is possible. Press the paste into your favorite fermentation vessel. Follow the instructions that come with that vessel. Otherwise choose a jar that is just the right size for your paste.
Press the mixture into the jar, there won’t be an obvious brine; when you have pressed the paste into the jar releasing any air pockets, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface, again without trapping any air. Screw a lid tightly on the jar.
Put this in a corner of the kitchen to cure. Watch for air pockets forming in the paste. If you see them open the lid and press the paste back down. If the lid starts to bubble up, simply open the lid for a moment to “burp” the ferment.
Allow to ferment for 7–10 days. You will know it is ready when the cranberries have a delightful lemony flavor and all the elements have mingled together.
Keep a small round of plastic or wax paper directly on top of the paste to prevent evaporation and contamination. Tighten the lids, then store in the fridge. This ferment will keep refrigerated for 12 months.