Life is just a bowl of cherries (jubilee)

4 Feb

My father loved to tinker around in the kitchen. His smoked turkeys and watermelon pickles were legendary. He pored over issues of Gourmet Magazine, and he loved to try whatever food fad was in vogue. A few of the culinary wonders he taught me – pairing Muenster Cheese with sliced pears, how to suck the juice from pomegranate seeds, the only way to eat beef is rare, plus he introduced me to a myriad of cuisines and ethnic dishes. Consequently I have a hard time eating, say a turkey sandwich for lunch. I would rather have an empanada or stir-fried tofu! I vividly remember when he first prepared Cherries Jubilee, setting it ablaze right on the stove – to my mother’s chagrin.

It’s actually very easy to prepare – and a bona fide gourmet dessert – which will have your guests dazzled over its simplicity and taste. This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (1970). I don’t have a chafing dish so I just warmed the brandy in the microwave, set it afire and combined it with the cherries.

Cherries Jubilee

1 16-ounce can pitted dark sweet cherries

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ cup brandy, kirsch, or cherry brandy

Vanilla ice cream

Drain cherries, reserving syrup. In a saucepan, blend sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in reserved syrup, mixing well. Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in cherries. (Optional: turn mixture into blazer pan of a chafing dish. Set pan over hot water).  Heat brandy in a small saucepan (or microwave). Pour heated brandy into a large ladle. Ignite and pour over cherry mixture. Stir to blend brandy into sauce. Serve immediately over vanilla ice cream.

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