A lot of folks think that cranberry sauce is basically a jello mold. Nay! There is no gelatin at all. The gelling is achieved via the berry’s natural pectins. That’s right, it’s a congealed salad that freakin’ makes itself! I prefer to keep mine on the simple side, but feel free to spice things up with nutmeg, cloves or ginger. If something tropical suits, you could stir in some finely minced chiles or some chopped vanilla bean, or perhaps cardamom…that was a test…cardamom would suck. Whatever you do, don’t tinker around in the engine room: The amount of fruit, water, acid, honey and time must remain constant.
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (one large orange should do it)
- 1/4 cup 100% cranberry juice (not cocktail!*)
- 12 ounces honey (1 cup by volume)
- 1 ounce crystallized or candied ginger (finely chopped)
- 1 pound fresh cranberries (washed and sorted (feel free to use frozen, but thaw first))
- Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice, honey and ginger in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the cranberries and increase heat to medium, cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. As it thickens, drop the temperature to low, to prevent splattering. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes, as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well.
- Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
- Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3-cup mold. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
- Once the cranberry sauce has cooled, overturn the mold and slide out the sauce. Slice and serve.
*Can also use 100% pomegranate juice if you can’t find cranberry.
Because I get nostalgic over the days of canned cranberry sauce I usually set mine in an actual can. Looks like your mother’s cranberry sauce, but doesn’t taste like it.