Spiced Brandied Cherries

I’m not sure if I’ve been living in a cave, but I’d never heard of brandied cherries before. When I first ran across them over at Sidewalk Shoes though, I knew I had to try them right away. I mean how good does it sound–preserved fruit, but in liquor! Right up my alley.

Unfortunately, like when making preserved lemons, I can’t tell you how this tastes yet. It requires a bit of time to age and mingle. Of course, seeing how I sampled as I cooked, I can say I’m eagerly looking forward to when I get to open this jar up. This could go on top of ice creams, in mixed drinks, or just make for a great adult snack. Plus, its a fun way to let you enjoy cherries out of season.

  • ~3 cups cherries, stemmed but not pitted
  • cognac (or plain old brandy)…enough to top off the jar
  • 5-6 Tbsp sugar
  • no more than 1/4 cup water
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 cardamom
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 vanilla bean

As with all canning endeavors, the first thing you need to do is properly sterilize your jar. Wash the jar in warm soapy water and then cover the jar (but not the lid and cover which should go in warm, but not boiling water about 5 minutes before you think you’ll need them) in boiling water until you’re ready for it. Is it really necessary for this particular recipe that you go through all of the motions for good canning? Probably not (what with the alcohol), but why not play it safe (and get more practice), right?

So anyways, good practice aside, onto the cooking. Stem the cherries and give them a good rinsing, discarding any cherries that don’t look too great (under or over-ripe).

Now, in a saucepan, make a simple syrup, mixing everything except for the vanilla for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until the sugar dissolves into what little water is there. This should get nice and thick, at which point, you can take this off of the heat and toss the cherries in the syrup to coat.

At this point, remove your jar from the boiling water, pour the cherries and syrup in (being sure to stick your vanilla in there, as well!) and press down gently to compact but not squish the cherries. Fill the jar with cognac, leaving about 1/4-1/8 inch of head room.

Remove the jar lid pieces from the warm water, clean the lip of your jar if you got any syrup on it, and seal it shut. Some would argue you don’t need to process the jar further in the boiling water, but to me, this gives you both the vacuum seal on the jar and it softens the cherries up just a little bit. So with your jar twisted shut, put it back in the boiling water for 5 minutes and then remove it, pat dry, and set it aside…for about 6 months. 😮


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27 Responses to “Spiced Brandied Cherries”

  1. joanne at frutto della passione Says:

    Adult snack indeed! I can see these spooned over sponge cake too.

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    Mike, would this work if you pitted the cherries first?

  3. kittie Says:

    I must be in the same cave – never heard of em!

    But have a surfeit of cherries around right now – and a bottle of Benedictine which is refusing to be drunk…. mmmm…….!

  4. Dee Says:

    First, I learn we’re to age our cookies for 36 hours, and now this! I know patience is a virtue, but my greed always gets in the way :( They do look amazing, though… hmm.

  5. Y Says:

    Yummo! Looks like a great way to enjoy cherries especially in the Winter :)

  6. noble pig Says:

    I would put these over cheesecake…yum.

  7. Ivy Says:

    This will be bookmarked for next year. I made some cherry preserves, which hope to be my next post.

  8. pam Says:

    Hey Mike thanks for the link! Your cherries look great! Making your preserved lemons is next on my list!

  9. grace Says:

    if you’re living in a cave, i must be next door because i’ve never heard of such a thing either. boy, i was missing out. looks fantastic!

  10. cakewardrobe Says:

    Heavenyl!!!! Looks like I need to empty out some space for preserving!

  11. Nora Says:

    I am a sucker for such preserves – always paying exorbitant prices for them at those “specialty shops”. Thanks for the recipe, I should really make my own! Keep us updated when you open it in a few months.

  12. Kevin Says:

    Brandied cherries sound good and I like the spices in these.

  13. heather Says:

    ohhhh myyy. wouldn’t those be lovely in a pie, or ice cream, or anything else! so delicious! can’t wait for your update!!

  14. Susan from Food Blogga Says:

    Could you make this if you pitted them first? Just curious. They look wonderful, Mike.

  15. Dragon Says:

    I love the addition of the peppecorns. They look like little jewels in that jar.

  16. Sylvia Says:

    My grandmother made something similar ,but using kumquats.
    I am a cardamom, and all spicy addict,so, I really like this. But I must wait until December when the cherry season will start.
    Great recipes and beautiful blog

  17. kate Says:

    i’m so sure these will taste so gr8 …and while you’re at it …make me a jar too :p

  18. Hélène Says:

    You can’t go wrong with that. That would be a great gift to bring to a hostess.

  19. Judy Says:

    What a great thing to do with all of the cherries around right now…just think of how exciting it will be when you open them up 6 months from now!!!

  20. Jan Says:

    Love the idea of adding the vanilla! Mmmmm sounds and looks delish.

  21. Bren@Flanboyant Eats Says:

    this is utter sexiness! nice job.

  22. Jude Says:

    Very nice and unusual (to me) spice mix. I really should start thinking about preserving summer produce.

  23. Maggie Says:

    I had a slightly traumatic experience canning cherries. The jars cooled and a few exploded when I added the hot cherries. The spicing on these sounds so good I’m encouraged to give it another go. I hope you post when you use them this winter.

  24. melissa Says:

    any idea on how safe it is? i’d like to try this but how food safe is it? i saw some other recipes on the net that did not boil anything – just added sugar and brandy. I’d like to try it but i don’t know if the brandy would be enough to keep botulisms at bay (plus, i wonder if its ok to keep raw fruit..)

  25. Robert Says:

    Even my mom liked it:))

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