Cranberry-Cherry Mold

Photo: Mike Krautter
Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
13 hrs 20 mins

This luminous gelled ring alludes to the canned cranberries of midcentury holiday tables. We've amplified the flavor with cherries.


  • 3 pounds fresh or thawed frozen cranberries

  • 12 ounces thawed frozen pitted cherries (1 ¼ cups), juices reserved

  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar

  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped

  • Coarse salt

  • 2 cups tart cherry juice

  • 3 packages (¼ ounce each) unflavored powdered gelatin

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • 1 bunch sage sprigs (optional)

  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten (optional)

  • Fine sanding sugar (optional)

  • Vegetable oil, for rack (optional)

  • Cape gooseberries, husked, for serving (optional)


  1. Combine cranberries, cherries with juices, granulated sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup cherry juice, and 2 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook until cranberries burst and mixture is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Strain mixture in batches through a fine-mesh sieve, gently stirring but not pressing on solids; discard solids. (You should have 4 cups liquid; add more water, if necessary.)

  3. Return half of strained liquid to pot and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle gelatin over remaining 1 cup cherry juice in a bowl; let soften 2 minutes. Add a ladleful of hot liquid to gelatin mixture, then pour gelatin mixture into hot liquid in pot, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Add rest of strained liquid; let cool completely. Pour mixture into a 4-to-6-cup mold lightly coated with cooking spray; refrigerate until set, at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.

  4. Brush both sides of sage sprigs (including stems) with egg whites and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Let dry on a baking sheet lined with an oiled wire rack, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

  5. Dip bottom of mold into warm water, 30 seconds, then run a thin knife around edge to loosen. Invert mold onto a platter, then lift to remove bowl. (If mold does not release, return to warm water 20 seconds more.) Serve, garnished with gooseberries and sugared sage sprigs.

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