“I feel the end approaching. Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur.”
~ Pierette, great-aunt of Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
This story & recipe features the beautiful photography of Wayne Atack of www.RovingEye.ca.
May you enjoy the story, the recipe and Wayne’s stunning photographs. More of his work is featured in the ”Cooking With Sin” book.
Health, strength and endurance are essential to living a vibrant life and taking good care of herself is something Sally Vlaar values deeply. She starts every day with a good 1 hour walk and she’ll jump at any chance to get in a good run too. It has been that way for years and it takes more than most of us could handle to keep her from being active.
Sally passed the love of fitness on to her family and recently she participated in a 10km run with most of her children and grandchildren. They often run for charitable causes, but this one was just for fun!
Her strength and endurance have served her very well. A few years ago, Sally was doing home care work travelling from house to house attending to the needs of people confined to their homes. Sally was visiting one particular house on an icy winter day when she slipped and fell hard onto the concrete sidewalk. The pain in her foot seared through her body and she knew she was in big trouble when she reached for her ankle and found it snapped over on a disturbingly unnatural angle.
At the time, cell phones were not attached to everyone, like they are today. Sally knew she had to get herself to a phone. Not wanting to yell and disturb the bed-ridden person in the home, she pulled herself onto her knees, careful to protect her badly broken ankle, and crawled back to the house, up the front stairs and let herself in the door. Keeping her composure, and not wanting to alarm the homeowner, she called out and identified herself as she made her way to the phone.
At this point, even the strongest among us would have collapsed and called 911, but not Sally. Her son-in-law Darcy says, “She’s a trooper” and he is so right. Worried more about the people under her care than her own ankle, the first call she made was to her work, to let them know she couldn’t make the rest of her rounds. Then she called her husband to pick her up and take her to the hospital. She could have called 911, but she believed there were worse emergencies at that moment than her ankle and didn’t want to occupy an ambulance unnecessarily. So considerate. So beautiful.
A few months ago, she was hospitalized for several days with a serious health concern, yet even in her weakened state with all kinds of tubes and vials connected to her, she got out of the bed several times a day and walked the hospital halls dragging the pole with her.
Since that hospital stay, she has had to change her already very healthy diet drastically. Fats and alcohol are almost completely cut out now and one thing she misses is her Cherries Jubilee. She loves making it and she loves serving it.
Sally says to make sure you serve it in the evening in dim light so you can enjoy the blue flame. Once she served it to her family in the light of day, but no one could see the flame so she increased the amount of Kirsch. The flame was huge… and so hot it almost burnt her arm!
This recent health scare forced her to slow down – for a brief stint – but now Sally is back to walking an hour a day and getting in a good run when she can.
4 – 6 servings
1 can pitted Bing Cherries (These are dark cherries, not sour cherries, nor cherry pie filling)
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup Kirsch or a cherry brandy
Vanilla ice cream
1 heavy sauce pan
1 large serving bowl that can handle flames
4 – 6 small serving dishes that can handle flames
1 ladle that can handle flames and has a handle that will keep your hand away from the flames.
Mix a small amount of the canned cherry juice with the cornstarch. Makes sure the juice is cold and stir until the cornstarch is blended. It will make a cloudy liquid.
Strain the remaining canned cherry juice into a heavy sauce pan, add the sugar and heat on medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Just before the juice & sugar mix comes to a boil, slowly stir in the cornstarch mix keeping the heat on medium-high. Once the cornstarch is mixed in, let it come to a boil. Keep stirring until the liquid thickens and is clear & shiny.
Stir in the cherries and heat until everything is heated through. The cherries can be added earlier with the cornstarch, but the cherries don’t need to be cooked.
Pour the mix into a nice glass or ceramic serving dish that can that can handle a bit of heat.
Scoop the ice cream into individual glass or ceramic bowls that can handle some heat.
Pour the kirsch into a ladle that can handle heat and light it. It is best to use a long stick match or a lighter with a long tip and light it just at the edge of the ladle. The flame with travel across quickly, so keep your hand back.
Slowly pour the flaming kirsch into the cherry bowl, stirring slowly to let it continue flaming.
Pour the cherry mix over the ice cream and enjoy. It’s deelish!
The key to flambéing is to shake the cherries gently so the flame continues to burn off some of the harshness of the alcohol and candies the sugars. Your family and guests will be entertained by it, too.
“Do enjoy. Just don’t over do.”
Wayne’s beautiful family enjoyed a special night of testing and tasting Sally’s Cherries Jubilee recipe
The next post discusses More on Kirsch & Tips for a Flambe in more detail.
Looking for a quick version? Check out my “Flaming Cherries Jubilee.“
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