I'm planning on making a few recipes from the "All Wrapped Up" section of the Nigella Christmas cookbook. I was wanting to make each of the Steeped Christmas Fruits to give as gifts this year and noticed that for the Golden Sultanas variation, I have Cointreau instead of Grand Marnier. Will this still work?
Dried fruits steeped in alcohol are great Christmas gifts as they are easy to make and although they are best left first for about 4 days, so that the liqueur can be absorbed and topped up if necessary, they can be given and eaten immediately. There are many combinations that you could use, but Nigella favours golden sultanas (golden raisins) in Grand Marnier, dried cherries in cherry brandy and mixed fruits in sweet sherry.
Grand Marnier and Cointreau are both orange flavoured liqueurs but there is a difference in styles. Grand Marnier is made with cognac and Cointreau is made with a clear alcohol (distilled from sugar beet). Cointreau has a cleaner orange flavour but Grand Marnier has a more complex flavour with orange, vanilla and hints of oak. Grand Marnier also seems to have a slightly more syrupy texture than Cointreau. Consequently we feel that Grand Marnier is better suited for the steeped fruits, as they are designed to be served as a dessert, and would prefer to use this over Cointreau or a triple sec. You may also like to read through Nigella's Christmas Gift Tips if you are making your own gifts for Christmas.