Looking for a way to impress your guests? How about homemade maraschino cherries? Toss out those radio-active neon red cherries that you have had in the refrigerator for years and serve your guests something they won’t soon forget.
Cherries are plentiful and plump and even on sale this time of year. The grocery store carries mainly bing cherries but if you are looking for a more exotic mix then check out your local farmer’s market. I was there last weekend and they had a nice variation of colors and flavors.
This is a sexy treat that is not only versatile but will add eye candy to your beverage or flair to your bar.
• 1 pound sweet cherries such as Bing, washed
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• ½ vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped, pod and seeds reserved
• 1 cup maraschino liqueur, preferably Luxardo
Stem and pit cherries, reserving the pits. Place pits in a resealable plastic bag, cover the bag with a kitchen towel, and, using a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan, smash the pits.
Place sugar, water, vanilla bean pod and seeds, and smashed cherry pits in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium container with a spout and strain the syrup. Reserve the vanilla bean pod, making sure to remove any trace of the pits, and discard the remaining solids. Add the maraschino liqueur to the syrup and stir to combine.
Place cherries in a 1-quart container with a tight-fitting lid and tuck the vanilla bean pod in the center. Pour the maraschino syrup over the cherries, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 5 days before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.