What a Tart!

July 16, 2009



Ooh, there’s almost nothing sexier and more lipstick-red than syrupy sour cherry compote. Sour cherries are somewhat elusive, making rare appearances at farmer’s markets. I think they’re not as desirable as their darker, sweeter sisters. When you do see sour cherries, they are often boozed up as a compote at a cocktail party or lazing stickily in a pie, covered with crisp sheets of pastry. But, oh, the flavour of this tart cherry! Especially when laced with intoxicating vanilla bean and teased with a squeeze of lemon. Dollop your cherry compote into a bowl of your morning cereal, or even onto grilled duck or pork. Not very clean-eating, but sour cherry compote is excellent with cheese and crackers.

Makes about 1 cup

1 1/2 cups sour cherries, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon tapioca or cornstarch

2 – 3 tablespoons agave nectar, to taste

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

tiny pinch of sea salt, I mean tiny, a few grains

one good splash of Cognac, Calvados, or other booze – sour cherries aren’t picky, optional

Put pitted and halved sour cherries into a small pot and toss well with tapioca or corn starch. Add the agave, lemon juice, vanilla bean seeds (add the pod, too, if you like) and sea salt. Place over low heat – cherries will soften, become super juicy and thicken over the heat. Watch carefully, stirring, and remove from heat once compote is thick and bubbling. Stir in the booze, if using. Pour warm over ice cream if you would like to indulge*, or allow to cool and keep in a container in the fridge. Pull out and discard the pod if you put it in.

A Tart

A Tart & Cheeky Cherry

* I’m forever battling the pastry chef in me, and I’m thinking that cold vanilla ice cream with warm sour cherry topping would make the best, meltiest sundae ever. It’s hard to be me.


2 Responses to “What a Tart!”

  1. Julie said

    You found them! Where did you find them?! I must have them. Your photos make my mouth water.

    • dawnegourley said

      Yes – I was happy to find them at Granville Island the other morning! There were just four pint boxes amidst, literally, piles and piles of other types of cherries.

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