Thursday, July 21, 2011

Got me a haul

I cannot say enough how much I love living here in Southern Ontario.  I am in the heart of the "fruit belt," which (quite happily) is also the heart of wine country.  Right now we have fruit coming out the wazoo.  There are a few lingering strawberries, and we're in the thick of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and cherries.  I don't do anything with currants or gooseberries, but they've been available too.  And the early peaches, apricots and plums are showing up on farm stand stalls.  And while it's not a fruit, I'll mention my delight last weekend at finding the first sweet corn of the season too.

But today I am going to focus on the 11lb pail of pitted, unsweetened, fresh tart cherries I picked up yesterday.  Plus the 1kg tub of dried tart cherries.  I got six 3-cup containers of the fresh cherries into the freezer, set aside a cup or so for just snacking and used the remaining 2 cups to make a recipe inspired by one I came across earlier this month at Autumn Makes and Does and have been anticipating enjoying ever since.

The original recipe for Hot Cherry Preserves calls for 3 dried chile de árbo, which I don't have.  It says to use cayenne if need be.  So I did.  I also added some of the dried cherries.

Spicy Cherry Sauce

2 cups pitted tart cherries
2/3 cup sugar
1/4-1tsp cayenne pepper (depending on your tolerance)
1 split vanilla bean (optional)

1/4 cup dried tart cherries
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Stir all ingredients except the dried cherries and lemon juice in a bowl or measuring cup.  Taste for heat and add more cayenne if necessary.  There should be more of a pleasant tingle than full on burn.  Cover and store in the fridge overnight.

Place the contents of the bowl in a small saucepan with the dried cherries and boil over medium-high  for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. The cherries will begin to break down a little and the liquid will become a bit thicker.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Let cool to room temperature and store in a clean half-pint (250ml)  jar in the fridge.

Personally I think this is going to be awesome over some dark chocolate ice cream. I wonder if it would pair well with cheese?

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