The first holiday recipe I have to share with you is for my cranberry sauce. I make this every Thanksgiving, but it would work equally well for Christmas. It goes great with turkey, goose, whatever you're having. And the next day, it also tastes great spread over biscuits for breakfast on a left-over-turkey sandwich for lunch.
My cranberry sauce is my own variation of a Nigella Lawson recipe. But, when I first tried hers years ago, I didn't want to "give it a thrashing" with a fork to keep it from setting. In fact, I wanted to mold it for that lovely, retro, kitschy look. Back then, I also couldn't find the cherry brandy that she suggested I use, so I used a raspberry liquor. In the years since, I've experimented with many kinds of alcohol. I think I prefer triple sec because the orange flavor really goes well with the cranberries, adding an extra fragrance that's just lovely.
So, here's how you do it. It's really quite simple.
2 12-ounce bags of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup triple sec
1/3 cup water
Step 1. Put all ingredients into a sauce pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often enough to keep from burning until cranberries pop and sauce reduces slightly. It will still look more liquidy than you expect, but don't worry because it will thicken a lot more when it sets.
Step 2. Pour the sauce into a mold. You can use a Jell-O mold, a bunt pan, or any shaped cake pan. I got mine at the thrift store. You will find lots of great, retro cookware there.
Step 3. Refrigerate until set. I usually make it at least the night before, because it's easier, but it doesn't take more than an hour or so to set.
Step 4. Unmold. I do this by loosening the edges all the way around with a rounded butter knife before inverting it on a plate or serving platter.