The Fast and Fancy Dessert You Have to Make with Cherries This Summer Includes Lighting Them on Fire

published Jul 26, 2017
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(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Pies and cobblers, crisps and clafouti are all fine desserts, but when ruby red cherries are in their prime, there’s a fast and fancy dessert that tops all the others. It’s easy enough to pull together any night of the week, and finishes on the stovetop with a dazzling flambé before getting spooned over ice cream. If you make just one thing with cherries this summer, this is the dessert to keep at the top of your list.

Cherries Jubilee Is the Fast and Fancy Dessert to Make Right Now

Created in the late 1800s, cherries jubilee is an easy yet ultra-impressive dessert that involves flambéing fresh cherries that have been simmered in a sweet syrup, then spooning the sweet and boozy fruit over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. It’s an old-timey treat that’s still very much in fashion today. Flambé anything and rest assured, it comes off with a fancy flair that is sure to impress your friends.

A liqueur is the key ingredient needed to ignite the cherries. This dessert traditionally calls for kirsch, a cherry liqueur, but you can also use brandy, bourbon, or even Grand Marnier.

To get started you’ll need the following:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Sugar
  • Pitted, sweet fresh cherries
  • Lemon juice
  • Liqueur
  • Vanilla ice cream
(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Making Cherries Jubilee

Cherries jubilee comes together in about 15 minutes on the stovetop, and finishes by flambéing the fruit mixture. Even if you’ve never flambéed anything before, you’ve got this. It’s easier than it seems, and totally impressive. Here’s how to do it.

  • Melt butter and sugar: Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet, then whisk in about 1/3 cup granulated sugar and cook until dissolved.
  • Add cherries and cook: Stir in about 1 pound sweet cherries (pitted and halved), about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit releases it’s juice and reduces slightly, about 10 minutes.
  • Flambé: Remove the pan from the heat. Pour in about 1/4 cup of kirsch, brandy, bourbon, or Grand Marnier into the skillet, then use a long match or utility lighter and light the liquid towards the outside of the pan. Allow the cherries to flambé until the flame dies out, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide vanilla ice cream between bowls, spoon the cherries jubilee over top, and dig in.