Adventures in Eating: Flaming Raisin Sauce

No matter how hard I try to stay ahead of a holiday menu through WOMC, I am always behind. Here, I thought, is an easy showy sauce for the holiday ham, and I am a month behind. Surely, you froze some of that delicious meat, so use leverage when you serve it again.

I have been reading an autobiography of  a certain Donald Trump. A New York developer and entrepreneur. He never misses the opportunity to use what he terms “leverage.”

His “deals” border on the bizarre. He started with nothing in 1973, and you know the rest. His solid advice is to use “leverage.” “Leverage,” he says, “is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without.” Now, no one can do without your leftover meat, right?

Have some friends over, and use your leverage by serving it to them with this flaming, brandy sauce. Cooking with wine or brandy can be such fun!

The Britannica states “Wine is as old as civilization, and no drink except water and milk has won such commendation through the ages. It is used to perform rites in churches; to observe memorable occasions; to launch ships; to administer to the sick; to welcome guests; and to in­spire the mind.”

Foods cooked with wine contain no al­cohol. Alcohol boils at a lower tempera­ture than water, 172 Fahrenheit at the simmering point, to be exact. If you cook foods with wine at or above boiling for as little as 10 minutes, no alcohol will remain, but the fine and delicate flavor and aroma of the wine will be left in your dish.

Here is your “leverage” to present your friends and family, and all three of Donald Trump’s requirements are met. And, I might add, this is much easier to execute than some of the deals he describes.


Makes 1 1/3 cups

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp grated orange or lemon peel

1 tsp arrowroot

1/2 cup seedless raisins, whole or chopped lightly

1 cup water

1/3 cup California Brandy

In a saucepan or chafing dish, combine brown sugar, orange peel, arrowroot, rai­sins and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce clears and thickens slightly. This takes about 3 minutes. Can be made ahead 2 hours up to this point.

When ready to use sauce, reheat. Warm brandy briefly in double boiler, then light carefully and pour over raisin sauce. Make sure your container is heat-proof. Spoon sauce gently while brandy burns. Serve at once over your ham.

Hope your holiday was a pleasant entree into Spring. Fresh rhubarb cannot be far behind.

A big “hello” smile from Julian, CA!

– Rosemarie

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