Cherries Jubilee is a classic flaming dessert, alleged to have been developed by Auguste Escoffier, the famous French chef. Historians are unsure when this spectacular dish was actually developed, but agree that it was for one of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations – either her Golden Jubilee (1887) or her Diamond Jubilee (1897). Nowadays, when Cherries Jubilee is ordered at a restaurant, it is flamed and spooned over vanilla ice cream, but Escoffier’s actual recipe does not mention ice cream. One can only assume that this important detail was inadvertently left out of the recipe.
Cherries Jubilee is an easy dish to prepare, and has only five ingredients. This recipe calls for canned cherries because fresh ones are not always available. If you want to substitute fresh cherries, directions are given below. I have adapted this recipe to be prepared in the microwave because it is so much faster. You may prepare it on top of the stove if it is more convenient. The flaming, takes a little practice, which gives all of us a good excuse to make Cherries Jubilee several times before actually serving it to our guests.
Classic Cherries Jubilee
1 15 oz. can pitted dark cherries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 quart highest quality vanilla ice cream, preferably homemade
1/2 cup kirsch or other cherry flavored liqueur
- Drain the cherries into a microwaveable bowl.
- Whisk the cornstarch, lemon juice, and sugar into the cherry juice.
- Microwave 2 minutes; whisk until smooth.
- Microwave for an additional 1-3 minutes or until boiling.
- Remove from the microwave and whisk until smooth.
- Stir in the cherries.
- Scoop the ice cream into 6 bowls.
- Pour the kirsch into a small skillet and heat until it begins to bubble on the sides, swirling so that all of it heats.
- Remove from the heat, ignite (a long-necked barbecue lighter works best), and pour the flaming liqueur over the cherries.
- Spoon or pour the cherry mixture over the six bowls of ice cream. This is much easier to do when the flaming stops, but is more spectacular while it is still burning.
- To use fresh cherries: wash and pit 1 pound of sweet cherries; place them in a skillet with 1/2 cup sugar.
- Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon over the cherries and cook over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved into the cherry juices.
- Remove from the heat and proceed with the recipe above.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 317 Calories from Fat 96
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 30% Protein 5% Carb. 64%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 11 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Cholesterol 44 mg
Sodium 90 mg
Total Carbohydrate 51 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 8 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 6% Calcium 0% Iron 3%