Mustard Ring

Well, it’s spring break month in South Florida. We are under siege- which is sweet for Florida’s economy but the driving is hell. A1A is barely a road this time of year- it’s solid people- on bikes, walking, running, going to the beach; you can’t make a turn at an intersection without practically getting out of your car to look both ways- bikes come out of nowhere, runners with headphones don’t even glance around- some even pushing babies along in strollers. Doesn’t matter if you have a green light. It’s all about defensive driving. OK. No more complaining; after all, this might just keep South Florida’s head above water until the long, hot summer. Then all bets are off.
Another sure sign Easter is nearly here: my darling granddaughter is coming down on HER break. She returns home on Easter Sunday so rather than making Easter dinner, we will be at the Ft. Lauderdale airport where we will practice patience.
As far back as I can remember my standard Easter dinner meant a Honey Baked ham. Trite, I know. But there are times when you’ve got to take the easy way out. Ham just plain goes with Easter, doesn't it? I even serve it on Christmas day because I want to spend time with my family rather than in the kitchen. Besides, Honey Baked hams are really good.
Christmas Eve with my parents used to be oyster stew and a filet of beef; then when my brother took over, it was turkey. So it was only natural I started serving ham on Christmas day- which everyone still requests with the lone exception of my daughter- who merely tolerates it. But whether Christmas or Easter, I do have an unusual side dish I serve that's a killer recipe- Grace’s Mustard Ring. Sounds really odd, doesn’t it? I thought so too… until the first time I tried it.
Years ago in Michigan I entered three recipes in a local cooking contest. I am embarrassed to confess my efforts did not even warrant an honorable mention. Oh well- life's little disappointments. Anyway…the grand prize winner of that particular contest was my friend Grace. Her winning entry was such a change of pace I couldn’t wait to try it. It was to be served with ham so I made it the following Christmas. Delicious! A pale yellow concoction that is so luscious in appearance nobody has a clue what they’re looking at. At first glance you’d guess it was dessert- a lemon chiffon something or other and then- surprise! It’s plated next to the ham on the dining room table. Describing it just meets with skepticism; you really need to taste it. It’s a sweet/sour mustard chiffon delight. I take it frequently to gatherings when I know ham is being served, but it needs a placard: “This is a mustard ring for the ham”. I’ve found it looks more like a savory if you garnish it with olives or parsley but at Christmas I can’t resist- I garnish it with holly.
So if you’re having ham this Easter, take leap of faith and give this a try- it’s such fun to watch everyone’s face as they taste this; I promise ham will never be the same without it. You can make it days ahead too. And if you detest ring molds, use any shape you wish.
Mustard Ring

4 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard (like Coleman's)
1 envelope gelatin
1 cup weak vinegar (2/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup water)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream
Mix the sugar, salt and dry mustard in the top of a double boiler. Make certain there are no large pieces of dry mustard left. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the vinegar. Whisk this mixture into the dry ingredients in the top of the double boiler. Soak the gelatin in 1 tablespoon of cold water then melt it over hot water. Cook egg mixture slowly in double boiler, adding the gelatin when it becomes hot. Cook until creamy and thickened. Remove from heat, cool over ice cubes.

Beat the whipping cream and add to the cooled mustard mixture. Pour into mold of your choice and chill. When ready to serve, unmold on a platter and fill the center with black olives, parsley or small crab apples.


  1. My mom-in-law pulled this out of the fridge a few Thanksgivings ago. I was shocked by the color (she subs 1/4 tsp turmeric for part of the mustard). There was no way I was eating this. I don't even like mustard!! But I tried it and it ROCKS! I made it this year; we don't have T-giving without it. I make a Pear Cranberry Honey Relish and serve it in the middle of the Mustard Ring. The flavors are amazing!

  2. David Williams28/12/12 10:59 AM

    In 1959, my mother was given this recipe, courtesy of Katherine and Albert Wrisley, owners of the Old Orchard Inn, Glen Arbor, Michigan. It has been served at Thanksgiving and Christmas for over 50 years.



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