I’ve had my eye on Faith’s fig-cranberry sauce since the first week I started working at Kitchn nearly seven years ago. Cranberry sauce is a non-negotiable part of my perfect Thanksgiving plate. I write that on my New England roots and the ever-present can of jiggly cranberry jelly on our holiday table when I was growing up. While I loved that can, fresh cranberry sauce was one of the first Thanksgiving recipes I learned to make as a teen, given how easy it is to master.
Since then, I’ve put a bowl of it on the table wherever I’ve celebrated it. I never thought of tinkering with the recipe, other than adding the occasional orange zest, until I came across Faith’s recipe. I’m as much a fan of figs as I am of cranberries, so combining the two sold me right away. However, I didn’t make the switch until last year, when I hosted my first Thanksgiving. I only wish I hadn’t waited so long.
An improved cranberry sauce that’s just as easy to make
What makes this cranberry sauce special isn’t just the addition of candy-like dried figs — it’s the mix of warm baking spices (star anise, cinnamon, and ginger) and a generous splash of rye or bourbon. These simple upgrades result in a cranberry sauce that is layered in flavor and surprisingly complex. Still, it’s no more difficult to make than the recipe on the back of the bag of fresh cranberries. Plus, you can make it a week before the party.
If you’re hesitant about the whiskey, whether you’re serving children or guests who don’t drink, know that the alcohol is undercooked. However, you can also replace it with freshly squeezed orange juice or extra water. One thing is non-negotiable, though: saving enough of this sweet and sour sauce to enjoy as leftovers. Spoon it over yogurt and oatmeal or, better yet, fold it into the weekend pancake batter.