Fresh cherries have been very appealing to me this year and I wanted to use them again before they disappear off of the supermarket shelves. Several weeks ago I made a salad using Rainier cherries with goat cheese and pistachios and it was a real hit, but this time I wanted to use the dark sweet Washington State cherries I found in a dessert.
I call this boozy cherries, but it’s really an easy version of Cherries Jubilee, minus the flambéing and the ice cream. Here the cherries are served over ice cream, which makes an equally delicious dish.
Traditional Cherries Jubilee calls for golden rum, but I’ve used tawny port for a sweeter, softer flavor. You could certainly leave it out and make an equally delicious non-boozy version.
The recipe uses lavender buds, a classic herb of Provence. I found culinary lavender at Fresh Market, but Williams Sonoma also carries lavender. Lavender has many uses in cooking. If you sprinkle a little bit of lavender on a chicken before you roast it, your kitchen will smell divine. Lavender can also be used to enhance the flavor of lamb and a pinch or two is delicious in crème brûlée or in vinaigrettes and sauces.
This recipe calls for serving the warm cherries over toast. We’ve served it over vanilla ice cream and thought it was just as good with the ice cream and more like Cherries Jubilee. If you serve this to dinner guests, using the toast brings an element of surprise, which I happen to like, to the end of the meal.
Boozy Cherries – an easy version of Cherries Jubilee, served on toast
Adapted from B H & G – serves 4
1 cup pomegranate juice
½ cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons tawny port or golden rum
1 teaspoon finely snipped fresh lavender buds or ¼ teaspoon dried buds, crushed
1 ½ lbs fresh dark and/or light pitted sweet cherries, or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries
8 thick slices French baguette or country bread
Toasted almonds (optional)
Garnish with a sprig of fresh lavender from your garden if you have it
In a medium saucepan combine the pomegranate juice, brown sugar, tawny port, and lavender. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cherries and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the cherries with a slotted spoon and set aside. Boil the sauce gently, uncovered, to the consistency you wish, striving for fairly thick syrup. Return the cherries to the sauce and set aside for a moment.
Lightly grill or toast the bread, then spread with butter. Place 2 pieces in either 4 dessert bowls or plates. Spoon cherries and sauce over the bread, garnish with the almonds and lavender sprig, and serve immediately.
For an easy version of Cherries Jubilee minus the flambéing, omit the toast and serve the cherries and their sauce over scoops of vanilla ice cream.
This recipe will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Mom on Time Out, Seasonal Sunday at The Tablescaper, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.