Grandma's classic raisin sauce is so easy and takes just 15 minutes - make it while the ham is resting. Raisins are cooked in slightly caramelized brown sugar until they're fat and juicy, then spiced with ground cloves. A tiny splash of apple cider vinegar takes the edge off the sweetness. There is simply no better way to enjoy ham.
Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. The color will be a deep golden caramel.
Add the raisins, butter, cider vinegar, salt, and cloves. Bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the raisins are soft and plump.
Make a slurry by combining the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix until smooth, then add the slurry to the sauce. Continue simmering until the sauce thickens, 2-3 additional minutes. Taste for seasoning and add additional cloves if you’d like more spice. Serve immediately over ham slices.
Raisin sauce can be made in advance and will keep in the fridge for several days. It will thicken considerably, so reheat in a sauce pot over medium heat and thin with water, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.
Be sure to use light brown sugar - the flavor of dark brown sugar is too strong and will become overpowering.
If you prefer a less sweet, caramel-tasting sauce, simmer the brown sugar and water for just 3 minutes in the first step. It will, however, still be sweet.