Thursday, September 6, 2012

Boozy Cherries with Lavender - an easy version of Cherries Jubilee, served on toast




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.

If you use fresh cherries, you’ll want a cherry pitter. A pound and a half of cherries is quite a lot of cherries to pit, so make your job as easy as possible. A cherry pitter it also a handy tool for pitting olives. I like this one from Oxo Good Grips because it has a splatter guard to keep the juice and pits from spraying all over you, plus the handle is ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip. Frozen cherries would work very well in this if you don’t want to go to the trouble of pitting your cherries or if fresh cherries aren’t available.

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
Softened butter
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.

Or

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.



39 comments:

  1. Wonderful and delicious! I really like the idea.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. What a delicious way to celebrate late summer. I think the crunch of the toast with the boozy cherries would, indeed, be a nice surprise.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  3. Now that is a truly innovative way to present cherries in new clothes, love it!

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  4. This cherry idea sounds really good. I'm looking for a way to use the culinary lavender I purchased at the Pike Place Market last month and this fits the bill, especially since the cherries can top ice cream!

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  5. I'd have that for breakfast too! Sure sounds like a great treat-enjoy:@)

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  6. Served on toast or with ice cream sounds good to me Sam. One tip I found this year when I could't find my cherry pitter was to use a wine bottle and a chopstick. It is handy in a pinch.

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  7. This looks delicious Sam. Love all of your tips too. Will have to look for lavender at the Fresh Market

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  8. How pretty is this? I love lavender in cooking..baking..you really find great ideas!

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  9. How delicious this must be! I love cherries and definitely want to try this recipe with the surprise element of toast! Thanks for the recipe, Sam!

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  10. This looks wonderful. I've never tried lavender in cooking or baking.

    FlowerLady Lorraine

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  11. Looks delicious. And I'll totally have to try adding a bit of lavender the next time I make a roast chicken.

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  12. That sounds really good Sam. I have some cherries in the fridge right now. I might have to get the rum out!

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  13. I have never had anything like this...it looks fabulous both with ice cream and French toast.

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  14. Sam, what a GREAT idea!! My mouth is watering...:) Thank you for sharing! xo ~m.

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  15. This looks so amazing! We have a cherry tree and I'm always needing ideas for how to use them up :) I'd love for you to share this at my linky party if you get the chance - thanks! http://www.momontimeout.com/2012/09/taking-timeout-thursday-no46.html

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  16. this is So wonderful!! I love the flavors and would never have thought of this wonderful combination!
    Mary x

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  17. This is such a special recipe! I love boozy cherries and this is even better because I don't have to wait for them to sit around before enjoying. This looks so versatile and delicious!

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  18. This sounds delicious. Due the lousy weather there were no cherries in our are this year :-( I have though still got quite lot frozen from 2011 and they work well in these sort of recipes :-) Take care Diane

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  19. I've never had cherries jubilee, nor boozy cherries of any sort. But I'd be drunk with happiness if I this were ever offered me! I have GOT to get a cherry pitter and appreciate the tip for the OXO cherry pitter Sam!

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  20. I have been extremely into cherries this summer too. Thanks for more ideas.

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  21. Hi Sam,
    We enjoyed the most delicious Cherries while we were in Oregon recently. We made "Cherry Everything", and then just ate them from the bowl. I am sending this recipe on to my daughter who is still enjoying those wonderful Cherries. I am bookmarking it for the next Fresh Cherries.

    Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  22. Looks wonderful -- so rustic!

    I often cook fresh fruit (without the booze) and eat it over a piece of toast with a spoonful of soft cheese (like ricotta) mixed with chopped rosemary and black pepper for breakfast. It's a real treat.

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  23. Sam, how I'd love to be a dinner guest in your home. What a treat that would be! I would certainly choose a port for this recipe, because it's one of my favorite boozes to cook with. I use herbs de provence, often, but I really need to keep my eyes open for lavender. This summer, I meant to "swipe" some lavender that is growing along our subdivisions landscape and never did it. I really need to do it next year.

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  24. Your version of Cherries Jubilee sounds delicious with the tawny port! A lovely and delicious idea.

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  25. Dear Sam, How beautiful!! I would love to try this...fresh cherries and lavender sounds like a match made in heaven! Blessings to you my dear, your friend, Catherine xo

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  26. Oh My this looks delicious! (((LOVE CHERRIES))) and this year I have eaten "SO MANY" I'm surprised I'm not "RED"(or at least pink). OH YES, I will take your advice and BUY THAT PITTER! as a matter of fact TOMORROW it's OFF TO William Sonoma to get it AND the ingredients to make your dish! "YUMMMMY"!
    Thank you so much,
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Donna

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  27. This looks so good. I love cherry anything. Can't wait to try!

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  28. These look amazing!! Great to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

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  29. I don't know why I've never bought a cherry picker. It's such a chore and stains your fingers, as well as makes them numb!
    You know me....I'd have this over ice cream! Fun to use pomegranate juice and rum.

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  30. I love this recipe!! I will save for next year... cherries have disappeared from the store. Thanks for sharing at Foodtastic Friday!

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  31. Man, oh man, do I love cherries. I can eat them by the pound. This post reminded me of traveling through the Loire Valley via bicycle and coming across homeowners cherry trees that were weighted down hanging over picket fences with cherries. I could not resist, I stood under the tree and just ate them until my belly was full. Cherry trees are one tree that Florida needs(laugh).

    As always, your recipe and photo rocks!

    Velva

    P.S. Thanks for following me on pinterest.

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  32. It is fate that I came across this blog post. I was just looking at a big bag of cherries in the refrigerator and wondering what unique treatment I could give them. I think I've found it. Thanks!

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  33. Love the cherries! I have a lavender plant and I hardly use it! I've heard that you can use the leaves the way you'd use rosemary...but haven't tried that yet.

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  34. Sam, I'll be making this for my next dinner party! I love to make cherries jubilee, but this is such a lovely updated recipe!!! YUMMY! YOU HAVE THE TASTIEST RECIPES! I hope you will share this at ON THE MENU MONDAY. Link goes live tonight at 8:00!

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  35. This sounds wonderful! The cherry salad has turned into a semi staple here -- at least as long as they last.

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  36. Looks delicious! great blog, i will follow!

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  37. Wow, another elegant dessert. I'm not big on cherries, but your recipe and photos have me seduced.

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  38. I got one of those OXO pitters this year and I concur, they ROCK. I like this recipe but I happen to LIKE the flambeing part :)

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam