Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Day Before Thanksgiving Ritual

Here it is, the day before Thanksgiving. Time for brining the bird, baking the pies, cleaning the house, etc. Also time for my annual recipe reading. Every year, without fail, my good friend Ann will call and ask me to read to her some of her own recipes because she can't find hers. I know what this feels like - that's why I started blogging my favorites so I'd know where to find them. Sure enough, I got the call this morning. Ann is looking for her mother's recipe for layered cranberry salad. I had to dig deep into the kitchen junk drawer, but here it is, in her mother's beautiful 80 year old lady penmanship. Her wonderful mom's been gone for several years, but her cranberry salad recipe lives on.

It is a wonderful recipe for Thanksgiving - I made it once, but making Jello based recipes are always a challenge for me. It's embarrassing to admit, but I suck at making Jello. Anyway, when I made this cranberry salad, it came out wonderful, but I couldn't stop freaking out about whether it would come out of the pan. I think I have some kind of Jello post traumatic stress disorder or something. I'm definitely blocking some repressed Jello memory. Maybe I tried to make jello with fresh pineapple and it didn't set up right? Perhaps it was the year I made a red white and blue striped jello for a 4th of July picnic and it melted because it was 102 F outside. I don't know what it is, but the thought of making jello makes me want to hide under the kitchen table and rock back and forth and suck my thumb.

For Ann and the rest of you brave souls out there, looking for a great cranberry recipe for Thanksgiving, here's the recipe:

Layered Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Layer

2 envelopes Knox gelatin
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. chilled ginger ale
1 1/2 c. ground cranberries

Cream Layer
3 envelopes Knox gelatin
6 T. sugar
1 1/4 c. boiling water
3 c. sour cream
2 1/2 cups lemon or lime sherbet, softened
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts

For cranberry layer: mix gelatin and sugar in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and stir. Stir in ginger ale and cranberries. Pour into a fluted tube pan that you've sprayed with cooking spray. Chill until almost set.

For creamy layer: mix gelatin with sugar in a large bowl. Add boiling water and stir with a wire whip or rotary beater, blend in sour cream and sherbet. Let stand until slightly thickened. Fold in walnuts and spread over cranberry layer and chill until firm. Makes 16 servings.


Kathy W said...

How cool! I have a layered strawberry nut salad that my mom used to make at Thanksgiving every year. The tradition has been passed down to me this year. We definitely missed it at T-giving last year. It's not cranberries, but it's quite similar.

Laura said...

I am jello-averse, but I like the idea of other people making it. It seems like the world can't be too dark a place as long as there is something as whimsical and silly as jello in it.

I love that you have become the keeper of Ann's family recipes!

Sandy said...

The key to jello success is the Tupperware jello mold. The center is removable. You don't have to warm the jello to unmold it. I have two of them because I always bring two different types of jello to Thanksgiving dinner. The traditionalists (all of the in-laws) love the lime jello with sour cream and pineapple number that the family has enjoyed for years (which I think tastes like Pinesol) so I also bring a whole berry cranberry pink jello too.

Holly said...

I have been looking for years for this recipe so thank you! I too am jello-averse but can't wait to make this again!
Ann Arbor