These wine-glazed cherries are so delicious you’ll be spooning them straight into your mouth from the pan. Ripe summer Bing cherries are juicy and sweet, and star anise has a natural deep licorice flavor that adds spice and balance to the sweetness of summer fruit like cherries. Since most good Syrah wines are described as having cherry and anise notes, it is no wonder these three flavors marry well.
- Yield: 4 CUPS (1.5 KG)
- 4 cups (1 kg) fresh Bing cherries
- ½ vanilla bean or (6 g) 1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 3 star anise pods
- 750 g one 750-ml bottle medium-quality Syrah
- 2 tbsp plus 1½ tsp (50 g) smooth sour cherry jam (found at most European markets)
- Use fresh Bing cherries that are firm and ripe. If they are bruised or overripe, be sure to keep your eye on them while cooking to prevent overcooking. Pit the cherries, halve them, and reserve in a bowl.
- Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a paring knife, and then use the knife to scrape the seeds from the pod. Reserve both the seeds and the pod.
- In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the vanilla seeds and pod or vanilla bean paste and star anise pods. Use clean fingers to rub the aromatics into the sugar and fully combine the mixture. This will release the fragrant essential oils into the sugar.
- Pour the Syrah into a straight-sided stainlesssteel or enamel-coated saucepan, 10 in (25 cm) in diameter. Add the sugar mixture and cook over medium heat until reduced by one-third.
- Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom so that the sugar does not burn. Using a fork or heatresistant tongs, remove the vanilla pod and star anise. Add the sour cherry jam; whisk together to emulsify the mixture of wine, sugar, and cherry jam. Remove from the heat.
- Gently place the cherries into the wine reduction. Toss lightly to coat. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cherries just start to break down but are still firm. I like to let the cherries sit in their juices at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, absorbing and soaking in all the flavor. When ready to serve, warm them up gently over low heat.