The most versatile, simple cherry sauce for duck to dessert. From savoury meat dishes to ice cream, this easy recipe is made with fresh or frozen cherries with an added touch of cardamom spice.
What Meat Goes Well with Cherry?
While we love this cherry sauce best with tender rosé pink duck fillets, it's also great with all sorts of meat. Try it with roast chicken or turkey (great also with lemon sauce for chicken), steaks and game such as venison.
Pork tenderloin (filet mignon in French) or pork chops are equally good. Traditionally served with tart fruits like apples and plums (prunes), cherries also hit that acidic note. Ideally use sour cherries or Morello dark cherries.
Rather than cook the cherries directly in the pot with the meat, this simple sauce adds the flavour separately. It's a win-win recipe: quick and easy that brings out the flavour of the meat. The extra cardamom and pepper just makes the flavours pop.
For more on what goes well together,
see the French guide to cherries (cerises).
The Simple Recipe - Without Alcohol
What I love about this simple recipe is there's no need for any red wine or other alcohol. Likewise, there are no shallots to reduce either, so the cooking time is much faster. Well, if it goes with dessert, we're glad there are no shallots!
Instead, add just a little balsamic vinegar as this does the job just as quickly without the alcohol. Just as we often add balsamic vinegar to strawberries, this works well for both savoury dishes and desserts.
Even with the cardamom seeds and pepper, this supports dessert well too. Surprised? Try it and see.
How to Make Cherry Sauce
We love this with sour cherries but pick your favourite variety and it will work just as well. What's more, out of season (let's face it, the season is too short!), frozen are excellent too.
Place the cherries in a saucepan with water (no need for water if your cherries are frozen), sugar, lemon juice, pepper and the cardamom seeds from 4 pods.
Cook for about 10 minutes until the cherries are soft without a lid (even less if fresh). Add the balsamic vinegar (optional but works with savoury and sweet dishes) and reduce for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste if for savoury.
Blitz with a hand blender either completely to a smooth sauce or blend half way to contain some whole cherries.
How Do you Thicken Cherry Sauce?
While many recipes add a little cornstarch or arrowroot to the cherry juice, this is without. Just add a little lemon juice, zest high in pectin, and leave to reduce on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
By blending the sauce half way, the sauce thickens naturally with the fruit. I like to leave some bits in it, as it's lovely to see the cherries still in the sauce. However, for some desserts, blitz it all the way to the smoothest cherry coulis.
Simple Cherry Sauce for Dessert - from Ice Cream to Pancakes
If I haven't mentioned enough, this simple sauce also works for dessert. Although optional, add a little more sugar to the cherries and this is great with ice cream. It's delicious with vanilla to chestnut vanilla ice cream.
Even try something original and serve as a topping with pistachio ice cream. Although extra simple, the flavours are layered and complex with pistachio, coconut and vanilla - with or without the wasabi!
Cherry and chocolate desserts are also a delicious combination. Think German Black Forest gâteau with its famous sour Morello cherries - and pair with chocolate fondant cake, chocolate crêpes (recipe forthcoming) or on these no-bake chocolate puddings.
The ultimate taste? Drizzle (dribble?) on top of French toast, Pain Perdu, which is served more as a dessert than breakfast in France.
Cherry Sauce for Meats to Dessert
- 300 g (2 cups) cherries (fresh or frozen) pitted
- 2 tablespoon water (not needed if using frozen cherries)
- 45 g (3 tbsp) caster sugar superfine
- 4 pods green cardamom seeds
- ¼ teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar optional
- Place the cherries in a saucepan with water (no need for water if your cherries are frozen), sugar, lemon juice, pepper and the cardamom seeds.
- Cook for about 10 minutes until the cherries are soft (less if fresh). Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce for up to 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste if for savoury.
- Blitz with a hand blender either completely to a smooth sauce or blend half way to contain some whole cherries.
This cherry sauce recipe was first published 16 February 2011 served with a white chocolate panna cotta dessert but is now separate.