Make Ahead

Fresh Cherries Jubilee

June 25, 2010
Author Notes

I made Cherries Jubilee to celebrate my son's birthday. With the extended family surrounding the table to sing "Happy Birthday", a bowl of pound cake with ice cream and flaming Cherries Jubilee was as dramatic and festive as any iced layer cake with candles. As I explained to everyone before we dimmed the lights and ignited the liquor, I have very fond memories of my sister's 21st birthday (eons ago) at a lovely beach-side restaurant where Cherries Jubilee was made and flambeed at the table. Originally made to honor the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign, it is truly a celebratory dessert. It will make anyone feel special. - Waverly —Waverly

Test Kitchen Notes

Testing Cherries Jubilee was a wholly satisfying experience. Unfortunately, there were no fresh cherries to be found in Minnesota this time of year, so a bag of frozen cherries had to stand in. They were plumply red and gave off a nice amount of juice to work with. The butter and lemon smoothed and picked up the sauce beautifully. On to the dramatic flourish of brandy and a match! Voila! I felt quite the magician. The warm, plump, drunk cherries over melting ice cream on a bed of pound cake is comforting and familiar. And yet, the old fashionedness of this dessert doesn't seem so very old. It is going to be my new treat for many evenings of entertaining to come. After testing according to the recipe, I noodled a bit and used Amaretto di Saronno for the flambé and made a pound cake with almond flavoring. Divine! When summer arrives, I will certainly make the fresh cherries version. - Stirnourish

  • Serves 4-6
  • 1 pound fresh ripe cherries, rinsed, stemmed, and pitted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup Kirsh, Grande Marnier, or Brandy
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 pound cake, cut into slices
In This Recipe
  1. MIX CHERRIES AND SUGAR: In a medium skillet, combine cherries with as much cherry juice as you can save, and sugar. Over MEDIUM heat, stir until sugar dissolves, the cherries become soft, and the liquid is reduced, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. ADD BUTTER AND LEMON: Add the butter and stir until it is melted and combined. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and stir.
  3. FLAMBE: Add the kirsh and then very carefully light a long-stemmed match and hold it to the sauce to ignite the alcohol vapors. (This part is best done with the lights dimmed and your diners watching).
  4. SERVE: Place one slice of pound cake in a serving bowl. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Spoon the warm Cherries Jubilee over the ice cream. Be very careful with the flames.

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  • mrslarkin
  • Waverly
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • Stirnourish
Waverly used to be a lawyer and is now a mother 24/7. She has made a commitment to cooking for her family and absolutely loves it even when her family does not. She is teaching them, one meal at a time, to enjoy wholesome homemade food. She abhors processed food but recognizes its insidious nature and accepts the fact that her children will occasionally get some Skittles, Doritos, or the like. Her philosophy and hope is that if she teaches them well at home, they will prefer wholesome healthy foods when they go out into the world without her.