I like to use tart jams, marmalade and peel in festive baking to add not only texture to the end product, but to introduce and extra taste and flavour. Dried fruits, peel and preserves had to be sour or tart to give that extra zing to the overall taste. This is the reason why I like to use special sour sultanas, dried sour cherries and Inca berries in Christmas baking. However, making preserve from pitted frozen Morello sour cherries, where cherries stay whole in thick honey syrup, is an option easier on the budget, but far more superior in taste and variety of uses.
I always struggle with temptation to consume sour cherries preserve as a topping for yogurt, ice cream or any other dessert, and to leave it for baking or use as a layer in sophisticated festive cakes. Depending on the planned use I leave the syrup in preserve from quite runny, to regular syrup consistency, as in this preserve,
to very thick, as I made it in another preserve, using sugar.
The process of making whole pitted cherries preserve in thick honey syrup is simple and easy. There is only one difficulty – you need to stretch the process into at least 2, even better 3 days. The main principle in this process is to heat cherries in liquid to a boiling point and let them rest and completely cool down, before heating them again. The longer the time of rest is, the better the texture of each cherry will be. Syrup penetrates into cherries flesh and makes them resistant to damage, during final cooking. Final cooking duration depends on desired thickness of the syrup, from ordinary syrup thickness, to extremely thick and viscous liquid, that becomes nearly solid at low temperatures. This method of preparation gives an amazing product with deep sour and sweet taste and quite resistant texture of cherries, close of that for glace cherries which have a simple overpowering sweet taste.
With traditional 1 to 1 ratio of berries to sugar/honey in the preserve, it can be stored at room temperature, without refrigeration.
- 500g bag of frozen Morello cherries (sour cherries)
- 500g honey, I used raw organic Australian honey
- pour honey over frozen cherries (use fresh pitted sour cherries if you can get them)
- let them fully defrost and let their juices mix with honey
- heat the sauce pan over medium to low heat up to the boiling point
- take the sauce pan from the heat and let cherries completely cool down in the liquid, the best way is to let them rest until the next day
- repeat the slow heating and resting again
- on the third occasion you can cook cherries preserve to its final consistency, use low to very low heat and watch the consistency of the syrup carefully at final stages, be aware that after cooling down the liquid will thicken
- let final product cool down to being just warm in a sauce pan and only then carefully spoon cherries and syrup into a clean glass jar or container
- it might be useful and more practical to store this preserve in glass container with a tight lid to have a better access to berries if you want them to be used in their unspoiled round shape
All the precautions of 2-3 days preparation process could be avoided if you want to use Morello cherries preserve as a spread in cake’s layer. Cooking for this purpose can be done in one go, without worrying about the shape of cherries. They will be disintegrated when the preserve is blended into a paste.