What a sweet way to finish out the year!
Last Fourth of July I was lucky enough to find fresh high-quality sour cherries...one of my favorite things in the whole world!
I took full advantage of my find by making several things I could enjoy long after cherry season was over, like Sour Cherry~Lime Jelly, Sour Cherry Jam (with Luxardo Liqueur), my own version of Maraschino Cherries, Sour Cherry Pie Filling and Sour Cherry Syrup.
Candied Sour "Montmorency" Cherries are in the small bowls
The most labor intensive project using the sour cherries was a sizeable batch of candied cherries, which I planned to use in fruitcake or biscotti in November & December, but I didn't get around to it. I think this creamy rich Candied Cherry Opera Fudge filled that void just fine, thank you.
I haven't written much about how to make candied cherries, and I think I'll save that blog post for next summer, when they're in season. Just know that it's a 7-day process (and I loved every sticky day of that week!)
Here's a peek at how pretty the candied cherries looked while drying on a rack in the heat of the afternoon sun last July:
I sort of stumbled across this recipe for Candied Cherry Opera Fudge. A previous tenant had left behind a year-old copy of Better Homes & Gardens magazine in a condo we were staying in while vacationing in Kona, Hawaii. That's what I call a happy accident. I knew the moment I read the recipe I HAD to make it.
(The original recipe calls for regular candied cherries, but I knew my homemade candied sour cherries would pump up the flavor. A lot.)
I couldn't wait to get home to my stash of preserved candied sour cherries and try out my own version. Like the original recipe it's full of basic ingredients like cream & sugar, and butter & vanilla.
And it requires a little skill, like knowing how to read a candy thermometer.
And being able to chop a few candied sour cherries.
In other words, it was a fairly easy and very tasty project, and best of all, it allowed me to take something I preserved months ago and incorporate it into a wonderful old-fashioned candy recipe.
I've heard of Christmas in July, but a little bit of the Fourth of July on Christmas? It works for me.