Cranberry-Maple Jelly

Next up in my controversial line-up of Thanksgiving dishesin order of least successful to most successfulis this festive, misshapen cranberry-maple jelly.

How did this wobbly, barely-a-side-dish food beat out the savory bread pudding, you ask. Most likely because it exceeded expectations. When I first set out to make it, I saw it as a novelty dish. My grandma always makes some sort of cranberry-Jello salad, so I thought it should be on the table. But, as it turns out, there's a whole lot to love about this jelly.
First off, it's a dish that only calls for four main ingredients: cranberries, maple syrup, sugar, and gelatin. Secondly, it is beautiful, even if we loosened it too much with too hot of water (read: simmering) when we were unmolding it. And lastly, it's like an oasis of tartness in a desert of umami-flavors on your Thanksgiving plate.

Of course, no Martha Stewart recipe is complete without its many issues. Namely, it calls for a ton of cranberries (I stopped filling my bag at 2 1/2 pounds.) and a whole lot of maple syrup too (I stopped at 3/4 cup, but only because that was all we had left in our tiny bottle.) But the real issue I took with this recipe is that it has you straining all of the cranberry juice out of the cranberries and then throwing away the pulp. I mean, at the very least, shouldn't there be a little note in the recipe with ideas on how to use the pulp? Like say, I don't know, in a batch of cranberry-walnut muffins or something? I added some back into the cranberry-maple mixture, but still have a bunch more in the fridge. So if you guys have any ideas, please, spill 'em.
And now to put my verdict in terms you kids can understand. This jelly's written-out emoji score? Two thumbs up, one heart, one older woman (to connote that my grandma likes to make this sort of dish), and one astonished face (because of all the unused pulp.)
See you soon with dish no. 3!

Cranberry-Maple Jelly adapted from Martha Stewart Living
(My adaptation basically makes for a less sweet jelly, which I appreciated. If you think you'd like a sweeter jelly, by all means, go for the extra half cup of sugar and the full 1 3/4 cups of maple syrup.)

Vegetable oil, for mold
40 ounces fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups water, divided, plus more if needed
3/4 cup grade A pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin

Lightly oil mold. Bring cranberries, sugar, and 3 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan, then reduce heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and are completely softened, about 10 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing very firmly on solids to release as much juice as possible (you should have 4 cups; if not, add water to make 4 cups). Skim any foam from surface. Stir in maple syrup.

Transfer 1 cup cranberry liquid to a clean saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water in a small bowl, and let soften 1 minute. Stir gelatin mixture into hot liquid until gelatin dissolves completely. Pour cranberry-gelatin mixture into cranberry-maple mixture, and stir to combine. Place bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until cool to the touch and beginning to thicken, about 15 minutes. Pour mixture into mold (Feel free to some spoonfuls of the cranberry pulp here too. I did!), and refrigerate until set, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

To unmold, dip top of mold into a bowl of hot tap water 30 seconds, then run a thin-bladed knife around edge to loosen. Place a serving platter on bottom of mold, and quickly invert. Tap to release, and remove mold. (If jelly doesn't release easily, return to hot water for a few seconds.)


Matthew said...

I totally loved this!! Probably would be in the same position on Matt's Top Pick's though. xoxoxo

Jennifer said...

i love the way this looks, almost creeping off the plate. kissing kate face.

Adriene said...

Another "trustworthy" Martha recipe. They never quite add-up! However, it looks jiggly and wonderful.

Little Kitchie said...

perfect fall dish! love!

chesley said...

What if you made a buko pandan dessert, but instead of coconut and pandan it could be pumpkin drink and cranberry jelly? weird? http://feastasia.casaveneracion.com/how-to-make-buko-coconut-and-pandan-jelly-drink/

Unknown said...

I think that every recipe should have an Amelia emoji score.

As for the cranberries... what about a liqueur?

Amelia Morris said...

total bon appetempt!

Amelia Morris said...

now you're speaking my language!! ;)

bridgetwhoplaysfrenchhorn said...

--Bread pudding (also my favorite place to put apple peels; put into bowl with yogurt or buttermilk, let sit for awhile, and then put into a food processor and process until chunky, then bake into bread pudding)

--cranberry liqueur

--Rice cooker overnight oatmeal (1/3 cup oats to 1 1/3 cup liquid, water, milk, your cranberry, etc, leave in the fridge overnight, then make in the morning)

--Cranberry muffins

--Turkey-cranberry-brie grilled cheese

Anne Zimmerman said...

What did Matt think?

Ouida said...

The pulp will dry nicely in a very low oven (150 degrees or so). Spread it out thinly on parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet. When it is leathery (not brittle), take it out, let it cool, break it up or cut it into pieces and use it any where you would use dried cranberries.

Amelia Morris said...

y'all are geniuses! Thanks for the ideas!!

Amelia Morris said...

hahahhahaha He's still upset about the bread pudding's placement in the line-up.

Corinne said...

Put the cranberry pulp in a mason jar with apple cider vinegar to make cranberry vinegar! Let it sit for six weeks and then strain out (or leave it in there). It will be really nice on salads.

Mary Anne said...

Do what I do, ok? Make it into an infused simple syrup for cocktails. Water. Boil. Sugar. Cranberries. Cool. Done.


In other news, this recipe is hilarious and one that I would never in a million years consider making. You're weird, Martha!

Colleen said...

What about a cranberry bark? Get a block of dark chocolate and melt over a double boiler. In the mean time spread the cranberries (or in your case some of them) over parchment paper which has been placed on a cookie sheet. Pour the chocolate over the cranberries and let cool. Don't know if it would work but how can anything with chocolate turn out bad?

Matthew said...

I really liked it, Anne. It was not better than the bread pudding (by my 12 point, patent-pending grading system) but I really liked it. Thanks for asking!

Joan Qualls - Tasteful Voyages said...

Cranberry cobbler!

My mother in law's traditional thanksgiving dish is a drunken cherry ring with the canned cherries stuffed with walnuts and the gelatin fortified with sherry. She has a special mold and serving dish that are only used at thanksgiving.

Hot tap water is hot enough for unmolding; it's also hot enough for bain marie and much easier to deal with than boiling water.

Yana said...

What about these cranberry orange bars?


Anonymous said...

this year my uncle brought canned cranberry sauce to dinner. i bet yours tasted better.

: )


Unknown said...

This looks so divine - love the richness of the red. I must try this recipe out coz I love jelly!

Unknown said...

This looks so divine. I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work.

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