Spicy Jellied Cranberry Sauce is a new twist on an old favorite. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. Either people really like jellied cranberry sauce or really dislike it.
When I was a kid, my mother would buy a can of cranberry sauce and put it in the refrigerator to chill. To serve, she would open both ends of the can, push out the jellied cylinder and slice it into rounds. It was my favorite thing and I would always go after that beautiful dark red slice first.
Other people, like my husband, have preferred cranberry sauce with chunks of the berries in it. It’s like the difference between jam and jelly. Fruit chunks or clear?
Whatever your preference, you can adapt this recipe to suit your likes. If you don’t like spicy food, leave out the chipotle sauce. If you like clear jellied cranberry sauce, just strain out the juice before adding the gelatin mixture. If you have a Vitamix, you can try dumping all of it in and completely pureeing all of it.
Some molding options for jellied cranberry sauce
When I was thinking about this, I remembered that I have a lovely rosette cupcake pan. Four ounces is just about right for filling those individual molds, and they made stunning roses from the cranberry sauce.
But how to get them out of the pan? Lightly spray the mold with vegetable spray. If you get too much in it, you can take a wadded paper towel and push down inside the cups to soak up the excess.
Unmolding can be tricky. Try gently slipping a dinner knife between the gelatin and the mold just to help break it from the mold. If it doesn’t come out with that, try the hot water method.
In a shallow pan (I used a baking half sheet or rimmed jelly roll pan), pour in hot water to come up to about 1/2 inch. Place the mold containing the gelatin in the hot water. Count to 10. If the gelatin doesn’t come out easily, put it in for another count of 10.
Place a pan or sheet pan over the top of the mold, grasp both together firmly and quickly flip it over. You may need to insert the knife again just to get some air in around the gelatin.
Note that leaving the gelatin mold in the hot water for too long will simply start melting the gelatin. If that happens, you can put it back in the refrigerator and let it set up again.
If you still have trouble getting them out, take plastic wrap and cover all of the cups except the one you’re trying to get out. Then you can gently pry them out one at at time without others coming out unexpectedly.
The problems with unmolding a gelatin is probably why hardly anyone makes them anymore!
Another beautiful and much easier presentation is to simply spoon the warm gelatin mixture into 4-ounch mini jam jars. I found a box of them with quilted glass sides. After they’re cooled, just screw on the caps and lids. Serve with or without the lid on.
How to buy and use chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
Look for chipotle chilies in adobo sauce in the Mexican food section of your grocery store. I like Embasa brand. I use this very sparingly, only about a tablespoon at a time.
Put the chilies and sauce into a food mill or press through a strainer to get out the seeds and skin. If you have a Vitamix or high-speed blender, just blend it until pureed. Measure one tablespoon of the puree into each section of an ice cube tray and freeze (it will stain the tray red—I have one that I use just for this).
When frozen, put the cubes into a freezer bag and label.
Other ways to use chipotle chile, besides spicy Jellied Cranberry Sauce
This spicy Jellied Cranberry Sauce is awesome with the chipotle chile. It gives it a certain kick. You can tell guests in advance or let them ask, “wait a minute. This has a little heat! What is that?”
Once you have the frozen tablespoon portions of chipotle chile in the freezer, you’ll find all sorts of uses for it. Two of my favorite spaghetti sauces have chipotle chile, and the New Mexico chasseur sauce is a great topping for omelets.