How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and sugar six 3/4-cup ramekins. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and the butter to a boil. Off the heat, whisk in the cornmeal until smooth. Cover and let sit until the liquid is completely absorbed.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/3 cup of the sugar. Add the cornmeal and whisk until smooth. Fold in the whites until no streaks remain. Spoon the batter into the ramekins. Run the tip of your thumb around the edge of each ramekin so the cakes rise straight. Bake the cakes for 22 minutes, or until golden, risen and firm to the touch. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, tie the star anise, peppercorns and cinnamon stick in a small cheesecloth bundle. In a medium saucepan, combine the wine, the remaining 1 cup of sugar and the spice bundle and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the cranberries and cook over moderate heat until they start to pop, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to a bowl. Discard the spice bundle and boil the liquid over moderate heat until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Return the cranberries to the syrup. Run a thin knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold. Serve the corn cakes with the spiced cranberries.