in a posting about our ski trip to deer valley in march of this year, i wrote about a delectable sour cherry sauce that accompanied a dessert and promised that if i could work it out i would post it on the blog. as it turned out, the sour cherries that married so perfectly with the sweet dessert somehow clashed with the savory duck. it soon occurred to me that the sweeter bing cherries just might work. this week my theory proved right. though i resolved to take a break from blogging while on vacation, mainly because i am spending every waking hour cooking and baking for my father, leaving only enough time to hem his pants—he claims he’s shrinking and i suppose at 2 1/2 weeks shy of 93 he is probably right. but i had to post this recipe while the cherries are still in season—it is that good. luckily he is sleeping late this morning so as his breakfast bagel is heating i hasten to post this recipe.by the way, frozen cherries work just fine so don’t feel bad if the cherry season has passed, or if fresh cherries aren’t available in your area. they are available in most supermarkets and come in conveniently sized 12 ounce bags!
this sauce is deeply cherry with an intriguing tang from the madeira and vinegar and rounded mellowness from the butter.
Makes: About 1 cup of cherry sauce/10 ounces/284 grams
12 ounces/3/4 pound/340 grams fresh cherries (pitted* they will be 2 cups and about 10 ounces/284 grams) if using frozen cherries place them in a strainer over a bowl to collect the juices and allow them to thaw completely. add water to equal the 1 cup called for to poach the cherries. they will take a little less time to cook. in a medium saucepan, placed the cherries and 1 cup of water. bring it to a boil and simmer covered for about 10 minutes or just until the cherries are tender when pierced with a skewer. with a slotted spoon, remove the cherries to a bowl. if any cherry juice remains with the cherries return it to the pan. add 1/2 cup/3.5 ounces/100 grams of sugar (you can use half turbinado for extra flavor) 1/4 cup madeira, and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, and reduce the juices, stirring constantly, until thick and syrupy and reduced to about 1/2 cup. return the cherries to the sauce and boil for about 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens but is still pourable. remove it from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 tablespoon at a time.
* to pit the cherries i use a large old fashioned hair pin/ insert the looped end into the stem end of the cherry and wiggle it around the pit until it is loose enough to pop out. they stay more whole this way and ensure that every pit has been removed. P.S. enjoying this sauce with roast duck did nothing to temper our enthusiasm for a slice of sour cherry pie for dessert!