There is no more elegant or dramatic finale to a meal than a flaming dessert done right at the table, and anybody who aspires to gourmet-cook status should learn how to do one. Cherries Jubilee is easy. All you need is a can of cherries, some ice cream and a little liquor.
Yield: Serves 4.
- 1 1-pound can dark sweet pitted cherries
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup brandy, or any fruit liqueur over 60 proof
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream
Drain the cherries, reserving 1/2 cup of the syrup. Put this syrup in a chafing dish and add the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the cherries and lemon juice. (Do this in kitchen.)
When ready to serve at the table, put the chafing dish with contents on its stand over a candle or alcohol burner and heat, stirring gently. Add the brandy or liqueur and ignite*. Keep stirring until the flames begin to die down, then ladle the fruit and sauce over the ice cream, which you have divided into four individual serving dishes.
*NOTE: When you flambe, exercise sensible safety precautions. Keep away from drapes and curtains. Don't let guests lean too close. It may be well to practice a couple or times, alone, in the kitchen, before you go on stage. For the ultimate in visual effect, keep the lights down low. Alcohol burns with a dark blue flame which isn't too visible in a bright room.
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