Organic Bing cherries are my choice for this recipe because they are the most readily available at our local markets, but you can use other sweet cherries with equally great results. Use them when they are firm and perfectly-ripe. No need to stem or pit these...just wash them well.
Serve as a garnish in cocktails, on a cheese platter, or plop one on top your grown-up ice cream sundae.
Makes ~1 quart or 2 pints
- 1 pound sweet cherries such as Bings, rinsed & drained*
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- ~1/2 cup Brandy
- 1 vanilla bean
1.) Prick each cherry all over with a sterilized needle then pack them firmly into a clean quart jar or 2 pint jars.
2.) Combine sugar and water in a large non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
3.) Remove from heat and pour syrup slowly over cherries. The jar should be half-full with syrup.
4.) Fill to the top of the jar(s) with brandy and add a whole vanilla bean vertically into the jar, if desired. (Cut vanilla bean in half if using pint-size jars.)
5.) Place a lid on the jar(s) and seal tightly, then place in the refrigerator for at least a week of up to 6 months. Check occasionally to be sure the fruit is covered entirely with brandy/syrup mixture.
Note: When the cherries are gone, don't forget to use that delicious leftover syrup for something. Be creative! My mom would have probably suggested one heaping spoonful for a cough, a cold, or whatever ails you.
*You can leave the pits in and the stems on the cherries.