I can never really resist the „Buy Me“ calls of fresh sour cherries when they are making their short appearance on the market stands over town, but I do not really enjoy consuming them fresh. Luckily, there are so many ways to process and preserve them, and as a passionate amateur pâtissière I enjoy the challenge of becoming inventive over the „Now that I bought it, what do I do with it?“.
So this time, I opted for making maraschino cherries. I love cocktail cherries – yes, even the sticky, sugary, artificially colored cocktail cherries from the supermarket shelf –, and I add them to drinks they really do not go with. But these ones are undoubtedly the real thing – and in more than just one way!
Trivia: In fact, the Food and Drugs Act 1906 defined „Maraschino Cherries“ as „Marasca cherries preserved in Maraschino“, whereas the artificially-coloured cocktail cherry that we mostly use today and that was just becoming popular in the US at the beginning of the 20th century was brandished „Imitation Maraschino Cherries“. It is actually due to prohibition that the modern cocktail cherry has gained footing over the „real“ maraschino cherry.
By the way, maraschino cherries are not only good in your cocktail. They have multiple uses in dessert-making and baking, and I will post some suggestions on this blog later.
The recipe below suggests adding brandy to the maraschino cherries. For „pure“ maraschino cherries, skip the brandy.
- 500 grams of Marasca (or another type of sour) cherries, with seed and stem and any leaves removed, washed and dried
- 60 grams of sugar
- 100 ml of water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- freshly-squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- 175 ml Luxardo Maraschino
- 30 ml brandy (you do not have to use an XO – that would actually be a waste -, but use a good quality, preferably dark brandy such as Vecchia Romagna or Cardinal Mendoza, or a VSOP cognac)
- 15 ml orgeat (alternatively almond syrup)
- 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water
- It is important that you use properly disinfected preserving glasses for this (and any other type of) preserve. Do so by placing them in a large pot of boiling water and make sure the entire inside is properly under water and/or turn the glass several times while boiling. Disinfect the lids in the same manner. Boil for approx. 5 minutes. You can handle the hot glasses with soft kitchen tongs afterwards (not by hand!); the tongs and the tools to fill the cherries into the glasses should also be disinfected. I recommend that you disinfect your glasses right before filling in the cherries; only then take them out of the boiling water.
- Pour the water and the lemon juice into a large pan, add the sugar and the cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the cherries. Let simmer for approx. 5 minutes.
- Take off the heat, add the maraschino liqueur, the brandy, the orgeat and the orange blossom water. Warm up again but do not bring to the boil anymore.
- Fill the cherries and the liquid (cinnamon stick removed) into the disinfected preserving glasses. Close the lid immediately and turn around. Let cool off while the glass is upside down.
- Store in a cool and dark environment (but not in the fridge) for approx. 4 weeks before use.
- Consume rapidly after opening.