Impress your guests with warm Cherries Jubilee served over vanilla ice cream! Flambeing rum caramelizes the sugars and deepens the flavors of the cherries.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from my 10-year old self’s favorite book series, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. In the first book, Dealing with Dragons, the main heroine, named Cimorene, tasks herself with making desert for a dinner party of six dragons!
Cimorene only knows how to make two desserts: chocolate mousse and cherries jubilee. Ultimately, Cimorene decides to make chocolate mouse, and she spends the whole day preparing enormous buckets of dragon-sized servings of it!
That scene left such an impression on me, and I haven’t forgotten it decades later!
I have always been intrigued by cherries jubilee, and until now, I never had it! I was inspired to finally make it when I saw one of my fellow blogger friends, Erin, make a Cherry Skillet Cake recipe. When she described her recipe as “cherries jubilee”, I knew I finally had to make the real deal!
What is Cherries Jubilee?
Cherries Jubilee is a flambéed dessert made from cooking cherries, sugar, and citrus juice together. Then, the warm cherries and the syrup are served over vanilla ice cream.
The hot and cold combination of the ice cream and the cherries is out of this world! Additionally, the flames produced from igniting the alcohol are so pretty, and it’s a very impressive sight for your guests!
Fun fact: Bananas Foster is made almost identically to how Cherries Jubilee is made. Other flambéed fruit dishes you may not have heard of are mangos diablo (mangos flambéed in tequila) and pêches Louis (peaches flamed in whiskey).
What Ingredients Do You Need for Cherries Jubilee?
Obviously, the star ingredient in this recipe is cherries! For that reason, buy the highest quality cherries you can find. This recipe is especially delicious if you can find in-season, fresh cherries! Although, high-quality cherries frozen at their peak will also work well in this recipe.
For this recipe, I used sweet cherries, but tart cherries or sour cherries would also work well.
How to pit cherries?
Pitting cherries is not a fun task! I’ve tried the DIY version of pitting cherries with a chopstick and an empty bottle, but it never works for me! It usually makes a mess, and the pit does not come out cleanly.
Although, my friend Erin, recommended this OXO Good Grips Cherry and Olive Pitter, and it is a game changer! It makes pitting cherries SO much easier and less messy. If you work with fresh cherries often, I highly recommend buying it to save yourself frustration!
By no means am I an expert on alcohol. For most dishes, I usually research, or ask the store clerk, what alcohol is recommended. Traditionally, many recipes for cherries jubilee use brandy, but rum works well too.
As the cherries cook, most of the alcohol burns away. However, there may be residual alcohol in the final dish. So, this dessert is better suited for adults.
TIP: If you don’t want to use alcohol in the dish, apple juice can be substituted for the alcohol. Although, if you do not use alcohol, your dish won’t flame. It will still taste great, though!
Most of the recipes I found for Cherries Jubilee include some kind of fresh citrus fruit juice to enhance the flavor of the dish. The acidity of the citrus fruits pairs very well with the sweet and tart flavors of the cherries. It also provides a bright and fresh element to the dish.
For this recipe, I used both the juice and the zest of a fresh lemon. Although, many recipes use oranges instead of lemons which is equally delicious! If using an orange, use the zest and juice of half an orange. Use whatever citrus you like!
TIP: If you don’t like eating the zest, only use the juice.
How to Make Cherries Jubilee?
Even though it can sound difficult, cherries jubilee is very simple to make! Plus, flambeing the cherries right before serving makes an impressive presentation because you get to see the flames erupt when the alcohol is ignited! Consequently, this dish is best served immediately after preparation.
First, add cherries, sugar, and lemon juice and zest to a small frying pan. Cook the mixture over medium heat for 5-7 minutes if using fresh cherries, or for 8-10 minutes if using frozen cherries. The cherries will start to soften and release their juices. You don’t want the cherries to break down too much.
TIP: Avoid using a pans with a non-stick coating. The heat of the alcohol burning can destroy the non-stick coating, and it may leech toxins into your final dish. Instead, use a stainless steel pan or other non-stick pan.
Next, remove the pan from the heat, and add the alcohol of your choice to the cherry mixture. Carefully, ignite the rum with a long lighter or a match held with tongs. Gently swirl the pan until the flames subside (about 30 seconds).
Finally, serve the cherries and their syrup over vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Looking for more Entertaining Recipes?
If you are looking for more delicious, entertaining ideas, give these recipes a try:
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement on this recipe! Thanks for reading!
Cherries Jubilee with Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 lb Cherries Fresh or Frozen
- 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 medium Lemon*
- 1/3 cup Rum or Brandy**
- 1 pint Vanilla Ice Cream
- Portion 1/2 cup of ice cream into 4 serving bowls, and freeze until ready to serve.
- If using fresh cherries, wash and pit the cherries.
- Wash the outside of the lemon with water. Finely zest the lemon with a zester or on the smallest holes of a grater.
- Combine cherries, sugar, lemon zest, and the juice from half a lemon in a small frying pan, and heat on the stove, over medium heat, until sugar dissolves and the cherries start to soften and release their juices (about 5-7 minutes for fresh cherries, and about 8-10 minutes for frozen cherries).
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the rum. Ignite the rum with a long lighter or a match held with tongs. Gently swirl the pan until the flames subside (about 30 seconds).
- Serve the cherries and their juices over the prepared ice cream, and enjoy!