When your partner comes home from the market with an abundance of cherries, pick out the best looking ones to place on the table (the glossy ones that have fresh green stems) and make jam with the rest of them.
And the jam turned out very well, so good in fact that I used some of the cherries as a topping for a Zuppa Inglese, an iconic Italian dessert. I will also use the jam as a topping for ice cream or to make ice cream.
The cherries: remove the stems and wash them. cut out any blemishes.
Weigh the cherries.
Place the cherries in a heavy based saucepan.
Use a potato masher to crush about 2/3 of the cherries to release their juices. Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon to the potand place over low heat ( I had about 500g of cherries, add more lemon and zest if you have greater amounts). Cook them on low to medium heat until the cherries are tender
If you look at recipes for making cherry jams, most advice is to use equal amount of sugar to the weight of the fruit. Commercial jams may use even a greater ratio of sugar to the fruit. I like to use less sugar – which is usually half the quantity of fruit. If I have 500g of fruit I add 250g of sugar.
Add the sugar and cook on moderate heat, stirring, for about 20 minutes (or longer) until sugar dissolves and you have a jam like consistency…. test the setting point by placing a little jam on a saucer that has been in the freezer .
Remove the jam from the heat and set aside for 10 -15 minutes.
Choose glass jars with an airtight lids and sterilize them. There are different ways to do this but I usually do this by pouring boiling water in them and submerging lids in boiling water. Washing them in a dishwasher is also effective but you will need to coordinate the time of cooking the jam and the wash cycle.
Ladle hot jam into jars; I always use jars when they are still hot.
And here is the Zuppa Inglese with the cherries on top.
Zuppa Inglese is one of the easiest and most decadent desserts to make BUT without Alchermes liqueur it cannot be Zuppa Inglese.
Alchermes is a Florentine ancient liqueur, red in colour and specifically used for making certain desserts.
In the photo above you see savoiardi (sponge fingers), egg custard and Alchermes.
The Zuppa Inglese is layered, just like a trifle – biscuits soaked in Alchermes, custard, biscuits… 3 layers.
Top with a layer of whipped cream (with a little caster sugar and vanilla = Chantilly cream)… and the cherries.
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