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Fresh Cherry Dessert Compote

Adapted from How to Pick a Peach, by Russ Parsons. We highly recommends this book! Check it out for down-to-earth advice on finding the best produce -- along with plenty of great recipes.

Here's a brilliant way to turn frozen or fresh (but maybe not perfect for eating) cherries into an irresistible dessert. Serve over vanilla ice cream, and you're set. Look for cherry "seconds" at your local farmers' market - still delicious, but less aesthically perfect than the "firsts."

Ingredients:
1 pound pitted sweet dark cherries - washed and pitted
1/3 cup superfine sugar
¼ cup dry red wine
1 clove
1 whole allspice
1-1/2” cinnamon stick
Piece of cheesecloth
1-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:
1. Macerate cherries and sugar in a bowl until the cherries release their juice, 30-45 minutes.

2. Add ¼ cup red wine and set aside until the cherries absorb it, another 15 minutes.

3. Tie clove, allspice and cinnamon stick together in the cheesecloth. Cook the cherries, the juice and the spice packet in a wide nonstick skillet over high heat until the juice begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Let cool and serve over vanilla ice cream.

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