Susan's Port Wine-Cranberry Gelatin Mold Recipe

Port Wine Cranberry Gelatin Mold
Port Wine Cranberry Gelatin Mold. © Betty Crocker Recipes on Flickr.
    15 mins

Port wine-cranberry gelatin molds exist in various iterations. This recipe is from my friend Susan (with her brand preferences), who liked to tweak recipes so they fit her palate. This mold was just one part of what made her Thanksgiving dinners special. The fact that the wine is uncooked, makes this off limits for kids.

Susan never measured her ingredients, even when she was making a cake. And, as we all know, precise measurements are critical to achieve success in baking. But, somehow, despite her devil-may-care attitude, her food turned out magnificently -- even her cakes. She always measured for this recipe, however -- one of her hand-down favorites.

Don't use fresh or frozen pineapple in this recipe. See the information below the directions to this recipe, below.

What You'll Need

  • 1 (6-ounce) package black cherry Jell-O or cherry-flavored Jell-O
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (20-ounce) can drained crushed pineapple
  • 1 (14-ounce) can
  • 1 cup
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

How to Make It

  1. DO NOT follow the directions on the box of Jell-O. Add 1 (6-ounce) package black cherry Jell-O or cherry-flavored Jell-O mixture to 1 cup of water and boil in a large saucepan. Add 1 (20-ounce) can drained crushed pineapple (do not use fresh or frozen pineapple), 1 (14-ounce) can whole-berry cranberry sauce, 1 cup port wine and 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, and mix thoroughly. Pour into a ring mold and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  1. Line a platter with lettuce leaves and unmold the gelatin on it. Place a pretty glass filled with Hellman's mayonnaise in the center hole.

Fresh and Frozen Pineapple with Gelatin Are a No-No

Homecooking Expert Peggy Trowbridge Fillippone says, "Do not add fresh or frozen pineapple to gelatin or Jell-O. These fruits, along with raw figs, kiwifruit, guava, ginger root, and contain an enzyme called bromelain which breaks down gelatin causing it to lose its thickening properties. The enzymes are deactivated by cooking, so canned pineapple and kiwi are fine to use."

The History of Jell=O

According to Mary Bellis, About's Inventors Expert, says, "In 1845, New York industrialist Peter Cooper patented a method for the manufacture of gelatin, a tasteless, odorless gelling agent made of animal by-products. Cooper’s product failed to catch on, but in 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter-turned cough syrup manufacturer in LeRoy, a town in upstate New York was experimenting with gelatin and concocted a fruit-flavored dessert."

His wife, May David Wait,  dubbed it Jell-O, and an iconic American treat was born.