Poor cranberries. No one really ever eats them, despite tradition, even when made from scratch. I think it’s because Americans are unaccustomed to the delights of chutney-eque condiments. Which is a shame, given the palate-cleansing powers of a tangy, acidic punch on a plate of buttery, rich foods.
This recipe is as old school as I possess. My mom’s been surprising guests with her famous cranberry relish mold forever. Why surprising? Well, much like my mom, it’s got a spicy kick that sneaks up on you, in this case a surprising zing of horseradish that eliminates all worries of cloying sweetness. Think mostarda and you’ll have exactly the right idea.
As a bonus, the mold is stunning on a holiday buffet table. My mom’s original recipe calls for raspberry Jello and canned cranberries, so I reworked it a bit to include fresh cranberries and fruit juice. The end result has more texture, and a fresher taste, without losing the surprising spicy kick. Pretty perfect, I think.
I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving!
Spiced Fresh Cranberry Relish Mold
1 c. apple juice
2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
7 c. fresh cranberries
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. water
4 oz. prepared horseradish (I used Bubbie’s brand)
zest of one lemon
Pour apple juice into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the juice and set aside for gelatin to soften.
Add cranberries to the bowl of a food processor. Process until cranberries are finely chopped.
Transfer cranberries to a large saucepan and add sugar, salt, water, and spices. Set over medium heat and bring cranberries to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to low and simmer until cranberries are softened a bit, about 10 minutes.
Stir in gelatin mixture, horseradish, and lemon zest. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Rinse a 4-cup gelatin mold with cold water, then transfer the cranberry mixture to the mold. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set–at least 8 hours, preferable overnight. Can be made 2 days ahead.