16 July 2013
pickled sour cherries — cerises à l'aigre-doux
Both Elizabeth David (in French Provincial Cooking) and Jane Grigson (in Jane Grigson's Fruit Book) have recipes for pickled cherries — cerises à l'aigre-doux. I was tempted, and did, and they are a fabulous hors-d'œuvre, here with radishes waiting to be devoured with salt and refreshing cornichons.
I boiled 6 oz of sugar with 12 oz of red wine vinegar, a half dozen each cloves and crushed juniper berries, a bit of true cinnamon (the stuff from Sri Lanka that looks more like actual bark and is more subtle), and some lemon peel. I let this simmer for ten minutes, then cooled and strained it. I used enough cherries (a little less than a quart) to use up the vinegar mixture, and let them sit in a cabinet for two weeks (perhaps longer if it's cooler than hot Chicago summer where you are). After this, they tasted ready and went into the fridge.
They are really quite marvelous, and my guests loved them. Tart, savory, surprising.