In 48 hours, we’re driving from South Carolina to Chicago to spend time with family. This has been an annual tradition for a really long time — although it was a little easier when we lived in Indiana and didn’t have three small kids. Oh well, I guess that’s why they invented coffee…
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to make a cranberry recipe this week. Last year we tried Cranberry Maple Pie and Cranberry Noel Dessert, both fairly tasty. This year… well, just take a look.
1 (1 pound) can whole cranberry sauce
1 cup boiling water
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup HELLMANN’S Real Mayonnaise
1 apple, diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Heat cranberry sauce; strain. Mix liquid, boiling water, and gelatin, stirring until completely dissolved. Add lemon juice and salt. Chill mixture until slightly thickened. Add Real Mayonnaise; beat with rotary beater until fluffy. Fold in reserved cranberries, apple and nuts. Stir and chill until slightly thickened. Fill sauce can 3/4 full for largest candle. Spoon remaining mixture into assorted cans or glasses. Chill until firm. Insert birthday candle halves into unmolded candles. Makes 6 servings.
Now that’s festive!
We tried a little experiment, and after a lot of tries finally managed to create a mayonnaise candle. Seriously — that’s just a heap of mayo, with a bit of string for a wick, and it’s burning. (In fact, it burned for a really long time. Make note of this, my coastal relatives: if the power goes out, set fire to your mayonnaise for light since it’ll be spoiling anyway.) But the “burning” question is, will this cranberry mayonnaise salad actually work as a candle? Can we eat it without feeling ill? Will I ever be invited back to the annual family Thanksgiving dinner if I show up with some of these as a centerpiece?
I personally don’t like canned cranberries, but mostly because it’s fun to cook fresh ones.
It’s less fun to cook the canned stuff, since it’s just melting.
And it took a good five minutes to melt, which was pretty tedious. It was hard to tell whether lumps were jelly or cranberries!
Chopping walnut and apples was faster.
The first time I whipped the mayo and jello together (after an hour), it wasn’t solid enough; it took another 60 minutes and very vigorous whipping to become fluffy.
But eventually it was gooey enough to fold in the solid bits.
One “candle” was molded in the can as the recipe suggested, while the remaining jello mayo stuff went into small cups. (It was very hard to unmold them from the cups!)
And look at the pretty candle!
Surprisingly, there is absolutely no mayonnaise flavor at all. (In fact, we couldn’t figure out what the heck mayo brought to this party, aside from “increased fat content,” which I wouldn’t think a cranberry salad really needs. It is not enough mayonnaise to actually catch fire.) It’s actually pretty tasty, although it would be rather unpleasant without the apples, walnuts, and whole cranberries to add texture and complexity.
The visual appeal, however, is lacking. It looks almost nothing like a candle (even when there’s a lit candle burning in it), because in order to have enough structural integrity to stand up straight, it has to be fairly wide and short. Also, it is really unlikely that you will be able to get a birthday candle down in it far enough without running into an apple chunk, which will push it off to the side. I’d certainly be surprised and amazed if this showed up at a holiday celebration, but not like, “wow, that’s innovative and beautiful!” — more like, “wow, my hostess has some strange ideas about candles.”
(And we tried putting a wick in the salad itself and lighting it with no success. The salad melts from the heat, but all the released water overwhelms the mayo and prevents it from staying on fire.)