We’ve been traveling all summer and almost missed cherry season this year, so I went a little overboard last week when I found some on sale. On the menu: fresh cherries, cherry clafouti and last night: balsamic glazed cherries over vanilla cheesecake. This is a fast, simple and delicious way to dress up a dessert. We’ve also enjoyed them over vanilla pastry cream, ice cream and with a simple vanilla panna cotta – yummy and so pretty!
I usually use plain balsamic vinegar but recently received some lovely flavored varieties as a gift, including a black cherry balsamic that I hadn’t opened yet. The balsamics I like are usually mellow and a little sweet – not very acidic or too tart like regular vinegar, so they work really well with desserts. Look at the label on your balsamic. If the first or second ingredient is wine vinegar, it will likely be a little too tart for this recipe.
I think the taste of the balsamic vinegar goes a little flat when cooked too much. So, in my recipe I use half the balsamic (1 tablespoon) while cooking, to help render the juice from the cherries then finish the cherries with the other half after I remove the pan from the heat. The result is flavorful, bright and fresh. The cherry balsamic was good but I don’t know that it added much to the cherries. Now that the bottle is open, I’m looking forward to trying it in a dressing.
The key is not to overcook the cherries – just two to three minutes to dissolve the sugar and render some of the juice from the cherries. The cooked cherries should still be fleshy and fairly firm.
- 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons good balsamic vinegar (syrupy and mellow)
- Pit and halve enough fresh cherries to make two cups.
- Heat a small sauté pan, and add cherries, sugar and one tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
- On medium high heat, cook for 2 minutes (no more than 3 minutes, max).
- Remove from heat, let cool for about a minute then add the second tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
- Serve warm or cold, over dessert.