Today just felt like the right day to light something on fire. I love tart cherries. I’m a huge fan of cherry pie, but I didn’t feel like making pie crust. Cherries Jubilee came to mind and this recipe was born.
My very first grown up solo holiday was Thanksgiving of my freshman year in college. I went to visit my sister in Houston, who was experiencing her first Thanksgiving in her First Big Grownup Apartment. She was toiling away a billion hours a week as an investment banker and that felt like the only day she was ever off work that entire year. We planned an elaborate Thanksgiving menu and started the day off right with Amaretto Sours at 9:30 in the morning. The meal went off flawlessly, except we never could get the jubilee aflame. I can’t remember the exact method to our madness, but over time I’ve perfected my method for lighting things on fire. Warming the alcohol helps. Also, light the liquor separately, then add to your fruit mixture. Even if our dessert wasn’t perfect that day, we were young enough that no one cared about the extra alcohol content in the dessert. And that was the day, I realized I couldn’t wait for my very own Big Grownup Apartment complete with my own personal kitchen to create fabulous dinners and holiday jubilation.
The cherries jubilee was a huge hit tonight and we’ve imagined all sorts of variations including boozy milkshakes and Cory’s request for a crumble topping. Best of all this recipe is super easy to put together and full of ingredients easy to keep on hand in your pantry.
Cherries Jubilee Recipe
3 cans tart cherries in water
1/2 c. sugar
1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c. Courvoisier or other cognac
Open three cans of cherries, reserve 1/2 c. of cherry liquid. Pour remaining liquid, cherries, and sugar into a saucepan. Cut open vanilla bean with a paring knife, then scrape the seeds into the cherries. Add the whole bean and the almond extract. Heat over medium high heat fifteen minutes.
In a small bowl, add the cornstarch to the reserved cherry juice. Stir with a fork until dissolved then add to warmed cherry mixture. Stir with a wooden spatula taking care to scrape bottom and sides of saucepan. Heat over medium heat for 3-4 more minutes until thickened, then remove from heat.
In a skillet, warm cognac over medium low heat. When it begins to boil, remove from heat and use a long handled fireplace style lighter to light the cognac aflame. This will ignite to a big flame! Carefully pour into warm cherry mixture. Then gently blow out flame and stir to combine. Remove the vanilla bean and discard.
Serve over vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!