Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Flaming-Great Dessert...

Our neighborhood's gourmet club met recently to share in a wonderful feast. My task on this evening was to bring a festive dessert. The choice: Cherries Jubilee! Cherries Jubilee was thought to have made its first appearance as a dessert in the late 1800's as a treat created for Queen Victoria. Its popularity in America soared in the 1950's and 60's with housewives who wanted to impress their dinner guests with a flaming dessert. Count me in as a "housewife" who was out to impress my friends...

The recipe I found (from Bon Appetit) had a few ingredients that I knew I might have to hunt high and low for... frozen sweet cherries, cherry juice, arrowroot, and kirsch. I made a quick call to my local grocery store to inquire about these very ingredients. The clerk told me that they didn't carry any of them except for arrowroot. Great... I decided to go to the store anyways to get the other stuff I needed... and low and behold, they carried all of the ingredients I needed except for kirsch. After a quick chat with the manager (hee hee), I was off to Beverages and More to find my kirsch (clear cherry brandy).

Dried cherries, cherry juice, sugar and a scraped vanilla bean boiled down to make a wonderful sauce that was thickened with powdered arrowroot. Cherries and orange peel were added in the end to make a lovely orange-scented chunky cherry sauce.

When the big dessert moment arrived, I heated the kirsch in a small pan, lit it on fire, and asked my husband to drizzle the flaming kirsch into the cherries!

The flame lingered for a bit until it burned out on its own. Time to serve up the cherries!

Another gal in our group brought a wonderfully rich European Chocolate Truffle Cake, and I brought some Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, so we served up a sliver of the cake, a scoop of the ice cream and a dollop of the Cherries Jubilee! YUMMMY! The cake was terribly rich and gooey and chocolatey, the ice cream was super decadent, and the cherries were the perfect complement to both. I recommend this as a flaming great dessert to have when you want to impress your guests!

Recipes can be found by clicking on recipe titles above.

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