News & Politics

Raisin Sauce for Easter Ham

This heirloom recipe for a spicy-sweet sauce is still great after all these years.

If my family has any Eastern traditions, it’s this raisin sauce, which my mother–and her mother in Connecticut–always served alongside a baked ham. The thick, glaze-y sauce, which evolved out of the late-19th- century Fannie Farmer Cookbook (the editors gave it the less-than-evocative title of "Ham Sauce #2," and included Worcestershire sauce in the recipe; for some reason we've always left it out) is aromatic and sweet–the perfect foil for salty ham. In some ways its spoiled me–I won’t eat a spiral-cut slice unless this raisin sauce is served alongside it. Luckily, it only takes ten minutes to make.

Raisin Sauce

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 10-ounce jar of currant jelly

1 cup raisins

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper 

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

Scant pinch ground mace

Place the sugar and the water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and add the jar of currant jelly. Stir until the jelly melts, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes so the sauce thickens. Serve with baked ham. 

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.