Category Archives: Jams & Preserves

My Blue Heaven

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Milkshakes are such a big part of childhood.  I always feel a little sad and as though I may have missed something essential about growing up because I was never into milkshakes as a child.  Something important.  Like a rite of passage, you know?

I have never drunk milk in my entire life.  I was already an adult before I would let myself to even try having a coffee with milk added.  As a child, I thoroughly despised dairy milk (we didn’t even think about non-dairy alternatives so let’s not go there).  So, milkshakes were something I eyed with a good measure of skepticism.  Tall chilled silver glasses filled with fabulously flavoured milk … it was still just a lot of milk to me.

Everyone would have their favourites … chocolate, of course, strawberry, banana, butterscotch, vanilla, pineapple, caramel … mostly standard stuff.  But there was one flavour that had us all just a bit fascinated and intrigued.  It had an air of mystery to it because we could never quite pin down what this fantasy flavour really was … blue heaven.  It just sounds so celestial.  So divine.  As if it could transport you somewhere fabulous with it’s gorgeous sky blue mystery flavoured milkiness.  Blue Heaven is an iconic Australian milkshake flavour invention that defied logic, by being madly successful.  So successful, it’s still around today in various forms.

Even my aversion to all things milky didn’t stop me from trying a blue heaven milkshake, out of curiosity.   It tasted like vanilla, but somewhat disappointingly, like an artificial vanilla (which, of course, it was).  Depending on where your research leads you, it actually was (and is) just artificial vanilla with blue colouring, or artificial vanilla raspberry with blue colouring.  The manufacturers of the flavouring apparently claim it to be the latter.  Now, that is cool, because raspberry is a fantastic mystery prize.  Sure, it is artificial raspberry that never comes close to real fruit, but who would have guessed?

I still don’t drink milkshakes, although I am partial to the odd smoothie.   I do love all things vanilla and raspberry though … and blue food?  I still love the idea of blue heaven as a flavour.  Would it work in a non-milkshake form?  Here in Australia, you can buy blue heaven syrup, blue heaven topping for ice cream, and blue heaven jelly.   Well, that’s a bit artificial and boring, despite being a testament to blue heaven’s ongoing popularity.

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So why not create my very own version of blue heaven, from scratch?  Real vanilla, real raspberry, and a little blue colouring for the sake of nostalgia?  Why not create it in cupcake form?  Good idea, yes?

Great idea.  Yes.  I still don’t drink milkshakes, remember?  😉

These moist cupcakes are pure vanilla and totally light blue, like the milkshake.  The cream cheese frosting is also pure vanilla deliciousness and blue like the heavens.  But take a bite of a cupcake and you get a surprise …  a fresh raspberry confit centre, sweet and tart.

I think it captures the essence of Blue Heaven, don’t you?  They do taste absolutely heavenly … and they’re blue 😀

I added some chocolate covered raspberries for decoration and little straws in honour of the milkshake that inspired them.

I hope you enjoy my blue heaven 🙂

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Makes 10 cupcakes

Ingredients
Blue Vanilla Cupcakes
125 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 grams sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped of seeds or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 x 60 gram eggs
125 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
125 millilitres milk
1-2 drops blue food colouring (water-based)

Raspberry Confit
200 grams fresh or frozen (and thawed) raspberries
200 grams sugar
15 millilitres freshly squeezed lemon juice

Blue Vanilla Frosting
125 grams unsalted butter
250 grams cream cheese
125 grams icing sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped of seeds or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 – 2 drops blue food colouring

10 chocolate covered raspberries

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Directions
Blue Vanilla Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Place 10 cupcake liners on a lined baking tray and set aside.

Place the sugar, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer and whisk until the mixture is light, fluffy and the sugar is dissolved.  Add the eggs and whisk until the batter is smooth and light.

Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Add the lemon or lime juice to the milk.  Add half the flour to the batter and beat until smooth.  Add the milk and finally the remaining flour.  Whisk the batter until smooth and light.  Add a drop of blue food colouring and whisk until the colour is evenly distributed and the batter is a light pastel blue.  If required, add another drop or two, one drop at a time.  I only needed one drop to achieve a pale blue colour.  Divide the batter between the cupcake liners.

Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  You can store these, at room temperature, in an airtight container, if making ahead before filling and frosting.

Raspberry Confit
Puree the raspberries and strain them well to remove the seeds.   Place the raspberry puree in a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice.   Cook over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring it gently.   Raise the heat and cook until the raspberry confit mixture reaches 104℃.  Test the confit by dropping a small amount on to a slightly chilled plate.  It should start to set fairly quickly.  When done, remove from the heat and transfer a small amount to a 12″ piping bag.  Place on a workbench and let cool slightly.

While the confit cools, cut a small round from the top of each cupcake and make a small cavity in the centre of each cupcake, about half of the way through.  Remove the crumbs* but reserve the round cut from top.  It will form a lid.  Snip a small tip off the end of the piping bag and pipe a small amount into each cavity to just under the top of the cupcake. Replace the round cut from the top to form a lid on top of each cupcake.  They are now ready to be frosted.

*The crumbs are lovely sprinkled on top of ice cream

Blue Vanilla Frosting
Melt the butter and set aside to cool.  Whisk together the cream cheese, icing sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.   Whisk the cooled butter until slightly thickened.  Add the butter to the cream cheese mixture and whisk until smooth.  Finally, add a drop of blue food colouring to give the frosting a pale blue colour.

Cover and refrigerate the frosting for 15 to 20 minutes before frosting the cupcakes.  This cream cheese frosting pipes beautifully and holds its shape without setting or becoming hard on standing or when refrigerated.

Pipe the frosting on to each cupcake.  Top with a chocolate covered raspberry.
For that blue heaven milkshake vibe, add a small straw for decoration.  I just snipped a standard straw into 4 equal pieces to get the right size for each cupcake.

Without frosting, the cupcakes keep well for up to a week, if stored in an airtight container.  Frosted, they must be stored in the refrigerator.  They will keep for up to several days at least and will be as moist and delicious as freshly made.

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Bite into a cupcake for a fresh raspberry surprise 🙂

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Macadamia & Wattle Seed Butter

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I have not posted anything in a couple of weeks and for this I apologise.  I have a number of things I would dearly love to bake, make, and post for you but life has again placed itself in my path.  But I will return to baking very soon.

As some of you know, I have attended some fantastic courses in making chocolates and pralines at the brilliant Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School in Melbourne.  I have had the time of my life and I have learned so much.  It’s been so great, I have signed up for some more classes!  If you would like to see some of the amazing chocolates and pralines we made, you can view them on the Facebook page.

But it has taken me away from baking and playing in my kitchen and posting new recipes.  Over recent weeks my father has been unwell and so I’ve been distracted by that too.  But I will be getting back to business as usual this week so there should be some posts coming through very soon.

I had some wonderful ideas for recipes to post for Australia Day, which is today.  Some wickedly good and some wickedly healthy too.  But as I’ve not had time to make them in time, I thought I should at least post up something to commemorate today.

Unlike some, I do not think of Australia Day as a commemoration of our early European (English) settlers arriving by ship over 200 years ago.  I think of it as a day to celebrate the coming together of Australians as a nation.  Strictly speaking, Australia became a nation on 1 January 1901 so this anniversary is a few weeks behind, but hey, what’s a few weeks between friends?

Like any nation, there are moments in our history of which we can be proud and moments that make us hang our heads in shame.  There are some who claim that those who migrated here from other parts of the world since the 1780s are not truly Australian, that only the indigenous people of our nation have the right to call themselves Australian.  I believe that all of us who call this beautiful country home have the right to call ourselves Australian, for even our indigenous Australians crossed over from other lands, albeit thousands of years ago.  We are essentially all migrants and yet all Australian, and all fortunate to live in such a beautiful country.   As is often said, we are all different but underneath it all, we are human and we are all the same.

It occurred to me earlier today that although the recipe I’m sharing is simple, and hardly even worth a blog post … it brings together two quintessentially Australian foods.   Macadamia nuts and wattle seeds.
Both foods are indigenous to Australia.  They are both amazingly delicious as well as being healthy.  Macadamia nuts are fully of healthy mono-unsaturated fats and nutrients while wattle seeds punch above their weight in protein and micronutrients.  Together they are nothing short of divine.

Whether you process the macadamias raw or lightly roasted is purely up to you, and a matter of personal taste.  I prefer to process them raw as the flavour is delicate and beautiful, and a pinch of sea salt really adds depth.

Anyone who has trawled through the recipes on this site will know that I love roasted wattle seeds.  That magical chocolate-hazelnut-coffee flavour they impart is sublime.   They are available online for those of you outside Australia.  If you cannot find them, you could substitute a little pure vanilla.  Use vanilla seeds or vanilla bean paste for the best flavour.

This literally takes only a few minutes to prepare.  It is the shizz on toast, on vegetables, on fish, on fruit, or eaten with a spoon.  It makes a fantastic alternative to butter, or other nut butters 🙂

Wishing you all a very Happy Australia Day.  I will see you all really soon with some new recipes!

Makes 1 x 250 gram jar

Ingredients
250 grams macadamias, raw and unsalted
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons roasted and ground wattle seeds
sea salt q.b.

Directions
If you wish to roast the macadamias first, lightly roast them for 5 – 8 minutes at 180℃.  Keep an eye on them and move them about on the tray every couple of minutes.  Allow to cool completely before proceeding.  This step is optional and unnecessary but it’s a matter of personal preference for flavour.  I like to make my macadamia butter raw as I like the flavour.

Place the macadamias in the bowl of a food processor and process until it is processed to a smooth paste.  Add a generous pinch of sea salt, to taste.  Add the wattle seeds and pulse briefly to distribute.  Transfer the butter to a clean jar.

Stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for a long time.  I doubt that will be necessary though 😉

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Gelato Panna e Amarene

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We always recall the truly memorable food moments in our lives with a smile and a longing to revisit the flavours, the textures, the sensory experience of that gastronomic interlude.  Sometimes we can, other times it must remain a sublime memory … perhaps associated with a special occasion, with people we love dearly, or places we have travelled to, that have left an imprint on our hearts.

Gelato is one of those things that can vividly recall happy foodie memories.   My fondest gelato memories always take me back to Italy.  I’ve had many great gelato moments in Italy and, not surprisingly, many of those involved variations on a chocolate flavour theme.  But perhaps one of the most memorable had nothing to do with chocolate.  It was at a particularly amazing gelateria in Piazza Navona in Rome … gelato made with fresh ingredients in a vast array of flavours, and no less than fifteen chocolate flavours to choose from.   Therein lay my dilemma.  Way too much chocolate choice (oh sure, try them all … 😉 ).  I couldn’t decide so I distracted myself by looking at the other flavours.  The thing with Italian gelaterie is that, whatever flavour experiments they come up with, the classic gelato flavours will always feature.  Pistachio, cioccolato, caffè, nocciola, limone, stracciatella, and panna e amarena.  Panna e amarena is a classic combination of a simple cream gelato swirled with sour cherry preserves, known as amarenata.  I’m not a fan of plain cream but oh I am a huge fan of amarenata.  I make my own every year.  You see this gelato everywhere but I’d never actually tried it.  It was wonderful.  So beautifully simple, with just a faint hint of vanilla in the creamy gelato, punctuated by the tart sweet cherry sauce and whole cherries swirled through it.   Perfection.

I’ve created a semifreddo version of this classic for Christmas.  Cherries always remind me of Christmas and it will complete a lovely Christmas trio of semifreddo style gelato I’m planning to serve with slices of pandoro on Christmas night.  This one, the Torroncino, and the Lebkucken spiced one.  There will be crushed up chunks of torrone and a rich ganache sauce spiked with Amaretto liqueur to serve alongside the gelato.  Not bad, yes?

The higher proportion of Italian meringue in this gelato makes it incredibly light and mousse-like in texture.   You can buy prepared amarenata or make your own.  It’s very simple to do, if you can find fresh or frozen morello cherries.  I have a simple recipe here.  Alternatively, you can make a sour cherry jam and swirl that through.  I’ve given a recipe for that below too.  I have not given exact quantities for swirling the cherry preserves through the gelato.  This is really up to you.  Both recipes for the sour cherry preserves make more than enough.  Leftovers are fantastic and can be kept refrigerated for several weeks.

It makes a pretty gelato to serve at Christmas and it matches the flavour of a classic nougat and chocolate perfectly.  Then again, it is also wonderful scooped in to a bowl or atop a waffle cone on a summer’s day … and pretend you’re sitting under a canopy in Piazza Navona and watching the world go by.  Bliss.

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Makes

Ingredients
Gelato Panna
3 large eggs, separated
90 grams sugar
20 grams vanilla sugar*
35 millilitres water
200 grams cream (35% fat), chilled
200 grams crème fraîche, chilled
Amarenata (recipe here) OR Conserva di Amarene (recipe below) q.b.
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) Amaretto or Frangelico liqueur (optional)

*If you do not have vanilla sugar, replace the vanilla sugar with 20 grams of sugar and add one teaspoon of pure vanilla bean paste or extract.  I used the vanilla sugar to avoid adding colour to the gelato from the addition of vanilla beans.  However, this is purely my aesthetic preference and is not necessary.

Directions
Combine the sugars and water in a saucepan over a low-medium heat.  Let the sugar dissolve and bring to the boil.  Do not stir.  Place the egg whites in a bowl nearby.  Have the egg yolks ready in a separate bowl.

When the syrup has begun to boil watch it carefully.  Insert the candy thermometer in the syrup and wait until it reaches 115℃.  As you do this, beat the egg whites until they reach soft peak stage only.  When the syrup is ready, pour half of it in a thin and steady stream into the egg whites, as you continue to beat them on high-speed.  Set the remaining syrup aside, off the heat for now.  Continue beating the egg whites until they are glossy.  Set the meringue aside.

Return the syrup to the heat if required, just to melt it a little (it may start to form a skin and set if it cools).  Beat the egg yolks.  Pour the remaining syrup into the egg yolks in a thin steady stream as you beat them on high-speed.  Continue beating until the egg yolk mixture is light, tripled in volume, and has cooled.  In warm weather, or simply if you prefer, set the bowl in a larger bowl with an ice bath.  It will help to cool the egg mixture more quickly.

Make sure the cream is chilled.  Place the cream and crème fraîche in a large bowl.  Whisk until thickened slightly and the cream forms soft peaks.  Do not over-whisk the cream.

Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the cream.  While you can be a little heavy-handed, you still want to keep the lightness of all that air we’ve beaten into the eggs.  Finally, gently fold in the meringue until no streaks remain.

Transfer the gelato to the prepared container or loaf pan.  Mix the amarenata or conserva and add the liqueur, if using.  Mix well.  Swirl some of the preserves into the gelato, with a light hand, making sure you swirl it about evenly.

Cover the gelato and freeze for 4 to 6 hours until set.  This semifreddo will never set hard and is very light and mousse-like.

It will keep for several days in the freezer, tightly covered.

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Conserva di Amarene
Ingredients
500 grams morello cherries, pitted weight (fresh or frozen)
250 grams sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (cassia bark)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla seeds or paste

Directions
Place all the ingredients into a heavy-based saucepan and mix.  If using fresh cherries, add about 50 millilitres of fresh water.  If using frozen cherries, there will be enough moisture as the cherries thaw and heat up, so extra water is not required.

Place over a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook until a small amount place on a chilled plate start to gel, or you can run a finger through it and it will leave a trail.  Remove from the heat and pour into clean jars and seal.  If you want to make this to use as jam, process the jars for about 45 minutes in boiling water.  Cool then store at room temperature.  When opened, they should be stored in the refrigerator.

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Amarena Caramel Tart

I like a little ambiguity in life.   Maybe that’s why I love the darkest, most bittersweet chocolates.

Warm chocolate ganache over cold gelato.  Zesty, pucker-up citrus with smooth, warm, nutty chocolate.   Hot, spicy chilli with silky, luscious mango.

I must confess I do particularly love tart and sweet together.   Like tart cherries in a sweet syrup.   Bitterness and sweetness vying for my attention in a sticky caramel with just a hint of burnt sugar to make it edgy.  It works.  Oh, my,  how orgasmically it works.    So that’s what I’ve put together here for you.

Tart morello cherries preserved in a sweet, spiced syrup.

A rich, dark, and buttery caramel, with just a hint of burnt sugar bitterness.

A light, flaky almond crust to encase it all in a subtle nuttiness.

This is a lovely, refreshing take on a caramel tart for summer, although it would be amazing at any time of year.  There’s no chocolate.  Nope.  Not a gram, not a shaving.  Tempted was I, but like a great outfit, less is often more.

Mmmm, you see how amarenata adds awesomeness well beyond the realm of gelato?

It stands up alone, the contrasting flavours and textures playing a symphony with every mouthful.   With this tart, you can choose how to compose that symphony.    Do you want the cherries immersed in the caramel to experience an explosion of tart acidity throughout the gooey caramel?  Or do you prefer to keep the layers separate to experience a burst of tart freshness before sinking your teeth into the sticky soft sweetness?

I’ve made this tart two ways.  The first with the cherries layered over the caramel for which I made individual-sized tarts.  The second, a single large tart, with the cherries arranged in the caramel and a sprinkling of extra cherries on top.    I love them both but maybe, just maybe, I love it best with the cherries in the caramel.

I hope you enjoy this one.  Whichever version you choose.

I’ll be reverting to some healthy recipes next but more buttery, sugary goodness is on its way too.    A big welcome and thank you to readers who’ve recently joined the blog and who follow the Facebook page.  So nice to meet you all and thank you for the comments and feedback!

Makes 1 x 23-24cm tart or about 6 – 8 individual tarts

Ingredients
Almond Pasta Frolla
125 grams plain flour
50 grams almond meal
40 grams caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
125 grams unsalted butter, chilled
1 egg yolk

Caramel
250 grams sugar
220 grams cream (35% fat)
pinch of fleur de sel
120 grams unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature

500 – 600 grams Amarenata cherries, drained weight*

*You can either make your own amarenata or buy it from specialty food shops.  If at a loss, don’t despair!  Buy some preserved morello cherries, drain them and reserve the liquid (it should be just water or a light syrup).  Place the liquid in a saucepan with a dash of vanilla and cinnamon and about a tablespoon or two of sugar.  You can omit the sugar if the cherries are preserved in syrup.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add the cherries and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat and drain the cherries before using.  In all cases, reserve the syrup to use in desserts, over ice-cream, to flavour milk-shakes, anything.  It is delightfully cherrylicious.  If you feel lazy, just add drained morello cherries, as they are!

Instructions
Almond Pasta Frolla
Preheat the oven to 190℃.

Have ready your large or small tart pan(s) on a tray and line them, if required.   I find I get the best results if I line the base of a large tart pan as it makse for easy removal of the base.  I generally don’t line the smaller ones.  I never grease my tart pans.  The sides of your pastry will keep their shape better if you do not grease the pans.

Make the pastry as per the instructions in the recipe for Torta di Ricotta Siciliana.    Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3mm – 4mm and line the prepared tart pan(s).  Chill in the freezer for at least an hour before baking.  You can make the pastry ahead of time and chill in the freezer on the day you plan to bake it.  This is great if making small tarts you’d like to serve over several days, with various fillings 🙂

Line with baking paper and baking weights and bake blind for about 15 – 20 minutes until the edges start to colour.  Remove the weights and paper and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and cooked through.  Set on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel
Place the sugar into a large saucepan.  I prefer stainless steel as this allows me to see the colour of the caramel as it cooks.  Avoid non-stick pans for making caramel.  Just don’t go there.

Place the pan over a low heat and gently stir the sugar as it dissolves.  The best action is to gently move the sugar toward the middle of the pan and back, checking the edges of the pan for any sugar that is dissolving and colouring too quickly and mix it in.    Don’t take your eyes off it for a second and have patience.  When it is all dissolved, stop stirring and let it cook until the colour deepens.  You can gently swirl the caramel on the base of the pan to make sure the caramel darkens evenly.  I like my caramel fairly dark but, for this recipe, do as you wish.  If you like your caramel blonde and sweet, that’s all good.  If you like it darker with a bittersweet edge to it, you’re a kindred spirit. 🙂  Just be careful to not overcook and burn the sugar.

When it’s ready, carefully pour in the cream, stirring as you go.  It may bubble and splatter as the cool cream hits the hot sugar.  The sugar may form crystals and a few lumps of toffee, but don’t fret.  Keep stirring over a low heat until the mixture is smooth.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter in two batches.  Stir until the caramel is smooth and silky.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, pour the caramel into the tart crust(s).

As you can see, I like my caramel nice and dark 😀

At this point, if you wish to have your cherries immersed in the caramel, add them in concentric circles to the tart filling and add any extras on top, randomly.  Place in a covered dish and refrigerate until the caramel sets.

If you prefer to arrange the cherries on top, refrigerate the tart with only the caramel until the caramel sets.  Once set, you can arrange the cherries on top of the tart.

Serve on its own or with a dollop of cream spiked with a little Amaretto liqueur or the syrup from the amarena preserves.

Any leftovers will keep for a day or two, covered, in the refrigerator.

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Amarenata

I remember gorgeous blue and white vases, with the word AMARENA emblazoned on them, with me staring up at them in wonder.  What child isn’t fascinated by beautiful, tantalising displays of sweet seduction in a pastry shop?  I know it wasn’t just me.  Most Italian pasticcerie, even here in Melbourne, Australia (so so far away!), had at least a few of these Fabbri vases on display.  Their mysterious contents?  The most wonderful morello cherry preserves ever.  Amarenata.   This simple but glorious concoction is a classic Italian sour cherry preserve that is used liberally in the iconic gelato all’amarena, a lovely rich cream gelato with amarenata drizzled lusciously over the top, like this one.  There isn’t a gelateria in Italy that doesn’t serve this classic ice-cream flavour.  It is also used in a variety of Italian pastries and desserts across Italy.

I love using amarenata in gelato, semifreddo, all manner of desserts and pastries.  It’s wonderful with zabaione, with CHOCOLATE, with nut cakes and pastries, and anything creamy.  Bringing home a vase of Amarenata was a very special treat.  It was always expensive, but you got to keep the lovely vase.  Sadly, when the amarene were finished, it was an empty jar.  Simply begging to be refilled.  Hmmm, well, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore!

It’s rather quick and easy to make your own amarenata at home. The hardest part, for me, is finding fresh morello cherries!  Over recent years, it has become more difficult to find fresh morello cherries in summer but happily they are becoming much more readily available frozen.  The number of growers has reduced here in Victoria.  *sad face*   However, the quality of the frozen cherries eclipses the fresh ones as they are so very perishable and the frozen cherries are picked and frozen at their peak so hooray!  I love stocking up on packs of frozen morellos to have during the winter months as a luxury … and to satisfy that sudden craving for an amazing black forest torte.   I’m taking the same approach to these as I do with my mangoes – stock the freezer.  It’s not cheap but they make for a special treat to remind one of summer when the weather cools  😀

This recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on your needs.

Immerse yourself in the fragrance, the tart-sweet ambiguity, of this seductive sour cherry preserve.

Next post … we’re using these cherries in a very special tart.

Now, I’ve been noticing of late that the Top 5 posts that you’re all peeking at are the healthy ones … all protein and paleo excitement.  Obviously, I share that excitement! Lots more of those to come and I’m currently compiling a list to share.  This also means I really really must take this blog to Splitsville and get the layout easier to navigate so you know which side of the fence you’re on.  Gathering together my minions (aka people who know heaps more than I do about how to do this properly) and hopefully there’ll be some funky moves and changes happening!

For now, even if you’re thinking, WHAAA this isn’t healthy … well sure, there’s sugar but hey, sour cherries are well-known for their FABULOSO muscle recovery benefits.  The best of both worlds is amarenata.

Those of us with a geeky side might just say it brings balance to the Force 🙂

Enjoy!

Makes  approx 4.5 cups

Ingredients
1 kilogram morello cherries, fresh or frozen (pitted weight)*
500 grams sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
2 teaspoons cinnamon or 1 cinnamon bark stick

*If using fresh cherries, pit and stem them before weighing for this recipe.

Instructions
Place the cherries, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large non-reactive saucepan and mix well.  If using a vanilla bean, split and scrape out the seeds into the pan but also add the split bean.  Place over a low to medium heat on the stove until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil.   Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the cherries to a heatproof bowl.  Return the syrup to the stove and bring to the boil.  Let simmer over a low heat until the temperature reaches 105℃.  Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.

Return the cherries to the saucepan and simmer until the temperature again reaches 105℃.

If you plan to use the amarenata during the next few weeks, place the amarenata into a container and allow to cool before sealing airtight and storing in the refrigerator.

If you wish to store them for use during the year, have ready some preserving jars that have been sterilised.  Remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon quill, if using.  Fill the jars with the hot amarenata and seal.  Process the preserves in a water bath for 45 minutes.  Let cool, label and date the jars, and store for up to 12 months.  Once opened, store the jar in the refrigerator.

Tart and sweet and dark cherry goodness:

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