Owner and Chef Ken Frank Sweetens Things Up With a Cherry On Top

Eating a good variety of fresh food in season is one of the healthiest habits you can have. It’s looking to be an early and strong Cherry season this year. Few people pay much attention to the different kinds of cherries and that’s a shame. Most of the cherries we see are sweet cherries, best eaten out of hand, often sold on the side of the road and in supermarkets. These cherries are a treat in late spring, leading off the stone fruit parade that will continue with Apricots, Plums and Peaches well into August. Less common, but well worth seeking, are the sour cherries. They are typically smaller, tart and more fragile but of much greater culinary value.  They pack a lot of health benefits too.

Sour cherries keep better shape and texture when cooking and are the “go to” cherry for making pie, often even referred to as pie cherries. Their tart flavor packs a lot more punch and allows cooks to adjust the level of sweetness in any given recipe. I love them baked in muffins, they make great ice cream. Belgians even make a special beer with them called Kriek, which seems weird until you try it.

Sour Cherry Caramel Sundae
2 cups pitted sour cherries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce brandy(ideally kirsch)
Vanilla Ice Cream

Cook sugar with lemon juice over moderate heat until it turns to a light caramel color. Add butter and cherries and continue to cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes until the cherries have exuded their juice. Remove the cherries with a slotted spoon and continue to cook the liquid until it is smooth and slightly thickened, likely another 5 minutes. Add back the cherries and swirl in a shot of brandy. Serve warm, over Ice Cream.