On March 25, the long awaited (and long delayed) Season Five premiere of Mad Men will occur, and many fans will return to the tradition of the Sunday night Mad Men dinner. The key to these dinners is choosing food that you can prepare easily so you don't miss a thing on the television. My vote for dessert is Cherries Jubilee, which, if you want to show off, can be done in a chafing dish, or made ahead and warmed and flamed in the ktichen. The dish is traditionally made with kirsch or brandy, which you may not have in the house because they don't feature in many cocktails. Now, bourbon...that's another story! I have lately been adding Four Roses Bourbon (my favorite brand) to the recipe, and it goes down pretty easily! Here's the recipe, a sneak preview from my THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD SIXTIES COOKBOOK, which will be released in April.
Makes 6 servings
This cherry dessert was quite fashionable in the Sixties, perhaps because it was so easy to make (the hardest thing about it is scooping the ice cream) or perhaps because it was another opportunity to set dessert on fire: this time ice cream. To up the ante, use 1 1/2 pounds Bing cherries, pitted, and about 1/2 cup sweetened cherry juice instead of the canned cherries, and sweeten to taste.
• Two 15-ounce cans pitted sweet cherries in syrup
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup bourbon, heated until warm
• Vanilla ice cream, for serving
1. Drain the cherries in a wire sieve over a bowl, reserving the syrup.
2. Measure 1 cup of the syrup and pour into a large skillet. Add the sugar. Sprinkle in the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture is thickened and simmering. Add the cherries and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are heated through. (If using a chafing dish, make the cherry mixture on the stove in the kitchen to this point. When ready to serve, pour into the chafing dish and bring into the dining room with the other ingredients. Place the chafing dish on its holder and ignite the fuel.) Stir in the butter until melted.
3. Pour the warm bourbon over the cherries, but do not stir it in. Carefully ignite the bourbon with a long match. Let the bourbon burn out of its own accord, or tightly cover the pan with its lid after 30 seconds.
4. Scoop the ice cream into individual bowls, and top with the warm cherries. Serve immediately.
If you like this, consider: