I’m so late I can hardly stand it… but I canned so many tasty berry treats over the last weeks that I just had to jot them down here… First there were several kinds of jam including a strawberry balsamic vinegar jam which I made last year and which I am delighted to report I managed to make into a real jam this year instead of a syrup. Also a mixed berry jam which is delicious. And a totally bizarre but intriguing sounding Pickled Cherries with Tarragon, which I have not yet tasted but which apparently is a delicious condiment and can be enjoyed instead of olives… hmmm!
Before I even started canning I made bottles of cherry and raspberry ‘Euphoria’ — I found the recipes (if you can call them that) in my copy of ‘The compleat meadmaker’ (yes, i’m making mead… more on that later) and it seemed too tasty and too easy to pass up. Basically you just throw 750ml of vodka together with 4 cups of the fruit and 2 cups of sugar and let is all steep for at least two weeks. Then strain out the fruit and voila, the beginning of a perfect cocktail. I also pureed the left over, very vodka soaked, fruit and am considering ways to use this in beverages or over ice cream. I had a spoonful after purreeing it which I found really helped me in my considerations of its merits and uses.
I’ve been experimenting with using these homemade concoctions in lieu of Kirsch or Chambord in all sorts of recipes — including this delicious cherry clafoutis. But my favourite use of the cherry vodka was in the ‘Spirited Cherry and Raspberry Compote’ which is my official entry to this month’s can jam (I know I’m too late for the can jam round-up but at least I won’t be barred from whatever next months awesomeness will be!). The recipe head note says that the sauce is great with all things chocolatey and I’m preparing to make a chocolate mousse to eat it with, but in the meantime I’ve found its pretty damn tasty over vanilla ice cream. I’m sure the cherries would also be a sophisticated addition to a manhattan in lieu of the sickly sweet (not that I didn’t used to eat them by the bowlful) Maraschino cherries.
Spirited Cherry and Raspberry Compote
from Mary Anne Dragan’s Well Preserved
Makes 5 -6 half pint jars.
- 6 cups sour cherries, pitted
- 3 cups raspberries
- 4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup Chambord or Kirsch (or homemade cherry of raspberry vodka!)
Combine the cherries, raspberries and sugar in your preserving pot. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow the juices to develop. Stir in the lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly thickened.
Remove from the heat. Stir and skim off the foam if necessary. Stir in the Chambord liqueur. Pour the sauce into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4″ head space. Wipe the rims clean. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.