Chilled cherry compote

It is worth paying extra for the canned cherries which are ready-stoned, not only because the cans contain more cherries, but also because stoning cherries is a tedious and often messy task.Use a potato peeler to pare a thin strip of zest from the lemon; this way you will remove only the outer coloured part of the skin, not the bitter white pith underneath.


serves 4
2 x 450 g (1 lb) cans stoned cherries, drained, with syrup reserved
5 cm (2 inch) stick cinnamon, or large pinch of ground cinnamon
5 cm (2 inch) strip lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
about 2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly, or to taste
2 teaspoons arrowroot
2 tablespoons water

to serve

4 tablespoons thick natural yoghurt
8 ratafias


1. Put the cherries into a large bowl and set aside.

2. Pour the reserved cherry syrup
into a medium heavy-based saucepan. Add the cinnamon, lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly. Stir over low heat to dissolve the jelly, then bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

3. Blend the arrowroot with the water, then stir into the syrup. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the syrup thickens slightly and is clear. Taste and stir in more redcurrant jelly to sweeten, if necessary.

4. Strain the syrup through a nylon sieve over the cherries. Mix well, then leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate the compote for 1 - 2 hours.

5. To serve: spoon the cherries and syrup into 4 individual glass dishes. Top each with 1 tablespoon yoghurt and 2 ratafias. (Stand the ratafias upright and at a slight angle, like butterfly wings.)

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