fruit and syrup
1 1/2 pounds firm, fresh cherries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 2/3 cups water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or substitute light corn syrup)
a small cinnamon stick (or supple vanilla bean, slit to expose the tiny seeds)
Stem and pit the cherries.
Place the sugar, water, lemon juice, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and cinnamon stick (or vanilla bean) in a medium-size (2-quart) nonreactive saucepan or casserole (preferably enameled cast iron). Cover the pan and set over moderately low heat. After 3 minutes, uncover the pan and stir the contents to combine. Cover and, after another 3 minutes, uncover the pan and stir the contents once again. Raise the heat to moderate, stir in the pitted cherries, and bring the contents of the pan to a simmer. Simmer the cherries uncovered, adjusting the heat so that the liquid bubbles gently, for 25 minutes. At this point the cherries should be tender.
Remove the cherries to a nonreactive heatproof bowl, using a stainless steel slotted spoon. Bring the liquid to a rapid simmer; simmer for 5 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Return the cherries to the lightly thickened syrup and simmer for 3 minutes longer.
Turn the cherries and syrup into a nonreactive heatproof bowl. Cool completely. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick (or vanilla bean). Spoon the cooled cherries and syrup into a clean, dry glass jar, cover tightly, and refrigerate.
about three cups
up to 2 weeks in advance, refrigerated in a tightly-sealed container
◊ at the market, select firm cherries
◊ read about Lyle’s Golden Syrup here
◊ two drops of sour cherry essence, though not essential, add a depth of flavor to the finished cherries; squeeze two small droplets into the cooled mixture, stir, spoon into a jar, cover, and refrigerate