Caucasian Curry

Caucasian Curry

Sweet Bing Cherry Chipotle Preserves

oh... how much do i love cherries?!...
i'll buy a pound or 2 with a recipe in mind and end up eating 1/2 the bag before i get it home.
DANG...i'll have to go buy more.

now that they are in season and on sale everywhere i can't help but find new ways to use them.  so far i've made Cherry Balsamic Jam, Cherry Clafouti, Sweet Spicy Pickled Cherries, this Sweet Bing Cherry Chipotle Preserves and i've got 3 pounds of plump Bing in the fridge waiting to be made into Sweet Cherry Balsamic Preserves.  i know i haven't posted about most of them yet, but i will get to it soon as possible...
so you too can get  going on the cherry train.

these little jars of sweet spicy smoky cherry preserves turned out absolutely fabulous...almost a mistake, but a blessing in disguise.  by that i mean...i was looking for more of a spreadable jam, kinda like my raspberry chipotle jam, but this just didn't want to pass the wrinkle test from the frozen plate.  it was thick, but not as thick as usual.  i didn't want it to go too far because i wanted to maintain the integrity of the cherries so i decided to pull the pot off the stove and "let it ride".  at first i was a little mad that it looked too runny after the 24 hour waiting period.  when i opened the first jar i was pleasantly surprised with not only the big chunky cherries, but the syrupy sauce is to die for.  not too thin at all...just thick enough to hold it's own.  the flavor has just the right amount pop from the lemon, heat from the chipotle and all the smoky adobo flavors.

the syrupy sauce glistens and runs all over the bread...i guarantee you will want to drink this stuff or at least lick the bottom of the jar...yum!


3 1/2 lbs fresh bing cherries...will probably equal 6 cups of pitted slightly chopped (*see notes) cherries
1 lemon zest
and juice from that lemon
NOTE...David calls for 2 lemons, but i think 1 will do because of the pectin in the granny smith apple slices and the acid in the adobo and balsamic.
4 slices of granny smith apple
4 1/4 cup sugar
2 chipotle peppers from can, minced
NOTE...remove seeds and mince peppers.  add seeds back in with peppers if using...the seeds are visible in the preserves and make it MUEY CALIENTE!
2 Tbsp adobo from can of chipotles
1 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar

per David as many cherries as you feel like pitting ( i say no more than 3 - 4 lbs.).  after washing, stemming and pitting you are going to cook (soften) the cherries with the lemon zest, juice and measure the volume you have...then add 3/4 of that volume in sugar.
*NOTE...after doing this and it being kind of a hassle, i would just measure my prepared cherries (diced, halved and whole) and add the sugar accordingly, ie. 3/4 of that volume.  i found that the sweet red cherries probably did not need a pre-cooking.

i mostly followed David's recipe and did this...

don't forget to put a small plate in the fridge for plate test and start your huge pot of water for your canning if doing so.

use a large pot...the mixture will double in size and foam up.  you do NOT want cherry juice overflowing all over the stove top!
cook cherries, lemon zest and juice (i added the 4 slices of granny smith apples in at this time) stirring once in a while until they are wilted and soft...maybe 20 minutes.
measure volume, cherries and liquid, and use 3/4 of that volume in sugar.  i had 6 cups so i put a little less than 4 1/2 cups of sugar.

stir the sugar into the cherry mixture and cook over moderate to high heat.  per David, the best jam is cooked quickly.  watch and stir fruit often so as not to burn the bottom.

once the liquid begins to slightly thicken add the minced chipotle, adobo and balsamic.  stir and continue cooking.  when mixture reaches 220 F degrees do a plate test. last cherry jam was a little too thick so i over compensated because i wanted to retain the look of the cherries.  i did not reduce my liquid as much as usual...i reached 220 F degrees a few times, but did not get the wrinkle on the plate test...
the end result did not thicken to a spreadable jam consistency, but it IS a nice thick syrupy base with big chunks of delicious spicy, smoky sweet cherries.
if you want a thicker base i think you could add more sugar at the beginning and or just cook it down a little more, but you might lose the look of the cherries.
i will experiment some more and give a report, but i think the next cherry concoction will be Pickled Balsamic Cherries...

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