Making an Easter Ham? We’ve Got the Sauce

This heirloom recipe for raisin sauce is still delicious 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.

We included the recipe in the April issue of the magazine, but here it is in case you missed it.

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 Petworth.