Candied sour cherries

Yield: 1 batch

Measure Ingredient
2 cans Sour cherries* (16 oz. each) packed in water
3 cups Sugar
¼ cup Light corn syrup

*If fresh cherries are available, pit them and simmer them until just tender in water to cover, then proceed with the recipe.

Drain cherries, reserving juice. Measure 1⅓ cups of the juice into a large, shallow pan (a skillet or a saute pan is ideal); if there isn't enough juice, add water.

Add sugar and corn syrup to the juice; boil the mixture, uncovered, over medium-high heat until syrup spins a short thread when drops are poured from a spoon, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add cherries and cook them, uncovered, over medium heat until they begin to be translucent, shaking the pan often, 20 to 25 minutes. (If syrup gets quite thick and threatens to caramelize, add a tablespoonful of water when this happens, and watch the cooking carefully.) Remove pan from the heat. Pour cherries and syrup into a bowl and let them stand for several hours or overnight.

Return cherries and syrup to the pan and bring them to a boil over medium heat; simmer until syrup is thick but not caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Lift cherries onto wire racks set over a baking sheet, using a two-tined fork or (if you're adept) a pair of chopsticks. Let them drain until dripping stops, then transfer racks to a clean pan or pans and dry cherries in an oven set at 200 F., watching them to be sure they don't become too desiccated; remove and cool them when they are still slightly tacky, after about 20 to 30 minutes. When they have cooled, they should be only slightly sticky. If they seem damp, return them to the oven for as long as needed, keeping an eye on them. Cool the cherries.

Store cherries in a closed plastic bag or container, or a glass jar with a snug lid. Store at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in a cool cupboard or pantry for up to 6 months; freeze for longer storage.

Yield: About 1 pound.

Witty writes: "Because they actually taste like what they are, I like to candy a batch of canned sour cherries when I'm gathering the ingredients for holiday baking. Although they are not as shapely or as improbably red as commercially prepared cherries - they are unimposing in size and dark in color - they are rich in cherry flavor, which is just what's needed in, for example, California Christmas Fruitcake."

From "Fancy Pantry" by Helen Witty. New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 1986. ISBN 0-89480-037-X. Pg. 307.

From: Cathy Harned Date: 09-24-94

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