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Cherries with Vanilla Bean

2015-03-02-18.07.56

 Courtesy of Alice Medrich, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

In this book, Alice offers “Fresh Cherries 3 Ways.” I’m providing you with the recipe for one plus her caveat, “Cheating with Frozen Cherries.” For the other two specialties, you’ll need to read the book. (Believe me, it’s worth it.)

Alice says, “These get better and better as they sit in the fridge, drawing flavor from the (Rain’s Choice) vanilla bean.”

The picture for this recipe was made with frozen cherries (it’s February here) so they aren’t as spectacular looking as fresh cherries. That said, they were delicious. Instead of using vodka, rum or brandy, I used raspberry wine to give the cherries a fruity boost. You could also use cherry brandy. I served them over Honey Almond ice cream and they were spot on! (VQ)

Serves 4 as a compote, 6 to 8 as an accompaniment to Vanilla Ice Cream or Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream

Cherries with Vanilla Bean
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound (3 cups) ripe cherries
  2. 3 Tablespoons vodka (rum or brandy okay)
  3. 2 Tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/2 Rain's Choice vanilla bean
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. Fresh lemon juice, to taste
Instructions
  1. Split the piece of vanilla bean in half horizontally.
  2. Pit and halve the cherries (if you don't have a cherry pitter, halve them, then pit). Toss them in a bowl with the vodka, sugar, vanilla bean pieces and salt. Let stand for 5 minutes or so to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Heat a wide nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot enough that a cherry sizzles when you toss it in. Add the cherries and their juices and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent the juices from burning, just long enough to reduce the juices to a thick, sticky glaze; this should take only a couple of minutes. Scrape the glazed cherries into a bowl and taste, adding a few drops of lemon juice if necessary to brighten the flavor. Leave the vanilla bean pieces in the mixture and refrigerate. The compote keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week.
Cheating with Frozen Cherries
When you just gotta have 'em and they just aren't in season. Here's how to make this recipe using frozen cherries
  1. Thaw a 12-ounce bag of whole frozen cherries in a strainer set over a bowl, leaving them long enough to release at least 3 tablespoons of juice. Pour the juice into a cup and set aside. Dump the cherries into the bowl with the flavor ingredients called for in the recipe and proceed as directed, cooking on high heat to evaporate the juices quickly so that the cherries cook as briefly as possible. After scraping the glazed cherries back into the bowl, add the reserved cherry juice to the skillet and simmer for a minute or two until the juice is reduced and thickened; the bubbles will be large and foamy. Scrape the syrup into the bowl with the cherries. Taste and correct the flavor with drops or pinches of extra flavoring from the recipe.
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Patricia Rain
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
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