You may remember about 6 weeks ago I posted about brandied cherries. That recipe was great! I’m still enjoying them (even though the recipe says to use within 2 weeks, I’m living on the edge.) I made a different recipe at the same time. This one had to sit in the fridge for 6 weeks. I put a piece of tape with a label and a date and hid it behind the pickles.
Well, this week was Ladies’ Preservation Society (more on that soon) and we did a taste test between the two recipes. A few days later, D and I tested the cherries in 2 different drinks – sparkling wine and bourbon. The decision was clear, though not unanimous. I’ve decided to call the first recipe “Quick” and the second “Patience.”
I got the recipe for Patience at Saveur (which I halved here). To make these, all you do is combine 1 cup sugar and 2 cups brandy, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour this over 1 lb. pitted cherries, seal in a jar, and let sit in the fridge for 6 weeks. Easy peasy. Because you aren’t heating the liquid or the fruit, the brandy takes longer to work its way into the cells of the cherries. This also means the cherries end up with a nice firm texture.
Quick cherries are softer, sweeter, and have a distinct but not overpowering brandy flavor. I have been using them for weeks, and I haven’t noticed any change in taste.
Patience cherries are firm and the alcohol flavor is a really strong. The recipe suggests serving the brandy strait up with the cherries in them. The brandy tastes good and has a lot of cherry flavor, but I would want to mix it with something to tone down the alcohol.
The winner… it’s the Quick cherries, by golly. I would have guessed otherwise, because of delayed gratification and all that. I like the firm texture of the Patience cherries, but the alcohol flavor was too much. In anything but straight bourbon or whiskey, it dominated. I will still use these in bourbon, and am debating cooking them down and making a sauce to go with a flourless chocolate cake for an upcoming potluck. (This potluck will have lots of kids, so maybe not?)
I’ve been adding the cherries to drinks: Quick was delicious in a sparkling rosé and both go great with bourbon. You could also make a mixed drink and include some of the liquid. They would also go great with anything chocolate, naturally. Or, add them to ice cream or frozen yogurt for an adult dessert.