Monday, June 30, 2014

Recipe: Disaronno Stewed Cherries

It's fresh-fruit season here in Ontario, with strawberries and blueberries, peaches and cherries, and so much more starting to come into season. One of my favourite things to do with the kids is to go fruit picking and then come home and make a bunch of different recipes with them. Jams, sauces, popsicles, pies...you name it, we like to make it.


Cherries have always been a fruit that I prefer fresh, however. I can't stand anything "cherry flavoured" with that bitter taste that is somehow supposed to pass for the real sweetness of overly ripe cherries bursting with juice.




As a result, I'm often wary of cherry baked goods as well, unless I know it's homemade with good quality ingredients, or it comes from a bake shop that makes excellent treats. Since my son is gluten free, we don't frequent too many traditional bakeries anymore. Still, cherries went on sale at almost every grocery store in town this week, so I went out and bought a bag of really ruby red, overly ripe ones, and then got to work!

These stewed cherries are almost the consistency of a pie filling- chunks of fruit in a thick sauce. I used it to spoon over a loaf cake and top with whipped cream, which was a really simple but surprisingly elegant-looking dessert that would be amazing at a dinner party. This sauce would also be amazing over brownies, which I think I might try next! For an even simpler dessert idea, spoon the mixture over ice cream for a grown-up sundae.

The only time consuming part of this recipe was pitting the cherries, because I'm not sure where my cherry-pitter went. I used the blunt end of a kebab stick to push out the pits instead, and it worked surprisingly  well. The rest of the recipe came together in about 15 minutes. You could continue stewing the cherries until the mixture is as thick as you want it, but I wanted mine to still be a bit liquid, and not as firm as, say, a topping for a cheesecake. I wanted it to run a little, not sit firm. If you want a thicker sauce, I've included the instructions for that below as well.

Disaronno Stewed Cherries

Ingredients

4 cups pitted cherries, halved or quartered
1/2 cup water with another 1/2 cup put aside
1/4 cup sugar
1 ounce Disaronno Liquer
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (optional)

Directions

1- Remove the pits from the cherries using a cherry-pitter. Or, push the cherries out the bottom by pushing a small stick-like object through the top. Split the cherries in half or cut them into quarters if preferred.

2- In a small saucepan over medium heat, place cherries, water, sugar, Disaronno, and vanilla extract if using. Stir to combine and until sugar completely dissolves. 

3- Bring to a boil, then lower heat to just higher than minimum and allow the sauce to cook down and thicken, stirring every few minutes. Do not allow sauce to sit for too long, or it will burn. 

4- When desired thickness is achieved, remove from heat. Sauce will thicken up a little once cooled, so if you aren't using it immediately take it off a bit before it reaches the consistency you want. For a thicker sauce, mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with water until dissolved and pour into mixture near the end, stirring to mix. Serve immediately. 

 

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