What better way to spend a summer evening than by snacking on a big bowl of fresh cherries? How about enjoying a glass of merlot while tending to a juicy steak on the grill? Or better yet, you could enjoy these two simple pleasures at once in the form of a sophisticated French dessert. Red Wine Poached Cherries are surprisingly easy to make and perfect for impressing your dinner guests. The recipe comes from executive pastry chef Daniel Skurnick of newly opened N.Y.C. restaurant Le Coucou, which serves the cherries alongside a chiboust, or fluffy cream pastry.
"I love having a classic dessert like chiboust on the menu, especially since it is rarely seen in restaurants these days," says Skurnick. "Being able to pair it with a variety of cherries from the farmers' market makes it even better. Fresh cherries, bursting with juices, gently spiced and cooked in red wine, make any summertime dessert an instant classic." Try the recipe below, which you can pair with a chiboust, like Skurnick, or drizzle over vanilla ice cream. Bon appetit.
Red Wine Poached Cherries
1 lb fresh sour cherries
1 lb fresh sweet cherries, bing or other varietal
1 cup sugar
2 cups red wine, Gamay or similar wine
1 vanilla bean
10 pieces whole green cardamom, whole
1. Use a cherry pitter or paring knife to carefully remove all the pits from the cherries. Meanwhile, combine the red wine and sugar in a medium large pot.
2. Split the vanilla bean and add to the red wine.
3. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the yellow skin from the lemon, avoiding or trimming any white pith from the skin. Add the skin to the wine, reserving the remaining fruit for another purpose. Add the cardamom to the wine, and then bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
4. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the wine mixture for 5 minutes. Add the cherries and gently stir. Continue to cook over low heat for five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the cherries to cool in their liquid.