You can turn velvety apricots and sweet, juicy cherries into a spirited confection – with help from your liquor cupboard.
Everything Cherries Week continues here at Seed to Pantry as we celebrate fresh, sweet cherries and my “appointment” as a Washington State Fruit Commission Canbassador.
What is a Canbassador?
As a Canbassador my job is to make all kinds of wonderful preserved cherry items and then write about them. (Yeah, it’s a tough job, but I am up for it!)
You can find out lots more about our wonderful Washington stone fruits over at the SweetPreservation site. There are instructions for canning and freezing fruit, all kinds of ideas for throwing a “preservation party,” recipes, tips for choosing the best fruit at the grocery store, and professionally designed labels to download. You can even get a copy of the “Of course I canned” badge for your own blog.
Cooking with Spirits
I started experimenting with flavored jams a few years ago, after exhausting local fruit combination jams. I was looking for something that would make the fruit more intense, but enhance its flavor instead of overpowering it.
A trip to the liquor store with all those little bottles of spirits convinced me to combine fruit and spirits. This recipe was my favorite experiment. I just love the tart apricot and sweet cherry combination with Grand Marnier’s orange richness.
Grand Marnier is an orange flavored Cognac similar to Cointreau. The difference, as far as I can determine, is that Grand Marnier is aged – as a good Cognac should be! – while Cointreau and other Triple Sec liqueurs are not aged.
To my taste, Grand Marnier lends a fuller, richer flavor than Cointreau; one that balances the lighter apricot and cherry flavors. Better yet, the alcohol cooks off leaving only its flavor behind.
- 10 large apricots
- 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted
- 2 ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup Grand Marnier
- Chop the apricots.
- Place in a large pot with the cherries and cook over low heat until soft, adding small amounts of water if necessary to prevent scorching.
- Puree fruit in a blender or food processor or using an immersion blender.
- Measure puree.
- Return puree to pot - you should have about 4 ½ cups of puree. Add sugar and Grand Marnier.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often until mixture has thickened.
- Ladle into hot, clean jars leaving about ¼ inch head space. Top with the two-piece lids and rings, and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
Full disclosure: This recipe was made with cherries I received from the Washington State Fruit Commission.