1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
Juice and peel (pith removed) of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Champagne or dry sparkling wine, for serving
Using tip of a small knife, scrape seeds out of the vanilla-bean halves into a medium saucepan. Add pod halves, the sugar, cranberries, orange peel and juice, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, star anise and 2 cups water; bring mixture to a boil over high heat. When cranberries begin to pop, lower heat to medium-high and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let mixture cool slightly. Remove and discard vanilla-bean halves, orange peel, cinnamon sticks and star anise.
Pour remaining liquid into a blender. Holding lid firmly with one hand wrapped in a kitchen towel, blend mixture on high speed until liquefied. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in 2 cups water and the lemon juice. Cool to room temperature. Churn in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. (This may require chilling base before churning.) Freeze sorbet for at least 2 hours before serving.
Using a small melon baller or 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop 3 balls of sorbet into a tall shot glass. Top glass with some of the Champagne and serve immediately with small straws or demitasse spoons.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
— Recipe from "Bluestem: The Cookbook," by Colby and Megan Garrelts with Bonjwing Lee.