The first time I ate at Antoine's, this is what I had for dessert. From that time to this, I've always wondered how good this would taste if it were made with fresh cherries instead of canned. I found out a few years ago: it's great. Since I didn't have the cherry juice from the can, I substituted Cherry Kijafa, a fruit wine from Denmark.
- 2 lbs. fresh cherries, or 2 standard cans black cherries packed in water
- 1 1/2 cups Cherry Kijafa
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, strained
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup brandy
- 1/2 gallon vanilla (or cherry-vanilla!) ice cream, hard-frozen
1. Wash and stem the cherries. On a cutting board with a paring knife, roll the cherries under the knife to cut them in half cleanly, and remove the pits. Save 16 of the best-looking cherries whole, with stems, for garnish.
2. Put the cherries into a non-stick or stainless-steel skillet with the Cherry Kijafa, orange juice, and vanilla. Over medium-low heat, cook the cherries for about ten minutes, until they've softened. Taste a few of them; if they seem very sour, add up to 2 Tbs. sugar.
3. Spoon the ice cream into bowls and place two of the perfect stemmed cherries in each for garnish. Serve the bowls at the table, but tell everyone to wait for the sauce.
4. Pour the brandy into a measuring cup, and then carefully into the pan. Bring it to a boil and hold it for about a minute. If you like, and you're very careful, and are ready for the possibility of firem touch a match to the pan and flame it. While the brandy is still flaming, bring the pan to the table (if this can be done safely) and spoon the still-flaming cherries over the ice cream, along with some of the pan juices. (The flames will go out after one or two servings, but the point will be made.)