What Is Cherries Jubilee And How Do You Eat It?

Bowl of cherries with vanilla ice cream
Bowl of cherries with vanilla ice cream - Leon Rafael/Shutterstock

Cherries jubilee is an exciting name for a dish, even before you learn what's in it. Jubilee is a word that conjures up cheerful images of celebration, so what exactly makes cherries jubilee such a thrilling dessert? It turns out the answer is fire. Put simply, the dish is cooked cherries and liquor, which are flambéed and then served over vanilla ice cream. In case you don't know the specifics, to flambé a dish is to add alcohol before setting the liquor aflame.

The liquor is usually Kirsch or Cognac brandy, although sometimes you'll see the dish made with gold rum instead. But including alcohol of some kind is essential because that's the key ingredient for sparking a flame before you pour it over the sugary cooked cherries. Once it's ready to serve, you're encouraged to be generous with several scoops of vanilla ice cream. And do remember to pull the pits out of the cherries before you start cooking.

Read more: The Ultimate Ice Cream Brands, Ranked

Jubilee Fire Safety Tips

Flambeed cherries in pan
Flambeed cherries in pan - Chelsea Heath/Shutterstock

When you're preparing any food where the fire is on top of the pan instead of underneath, it's important to stay safe. Alcohol is highly flammable, and it doesn't take much to get a flame going, so keep in mind that a boozier dish will create a much bigger fire. It's safer to use a utility lighter, which has a longer neck, because setting the flame with a tiny lighter you bought over the counter at a gas station might lead to you burning your fingers. Remove your pan from the stove before you use the lighter.

With cherries jubilee, once the fire is out, you want to pour it over the vanilla ice cream immediately. Part of the dish's charm is the contrast between the hot cherries and the cold ice cream, but the temperatures will even out if you let it sit for too long. Of course, it should go without saying that you wait for the fire to snuff out before you add the cherries to the ice cream and dig in.

How Old Is Cherries Jubilee?

Cherries jubilee in a bowl
Cherries jubilee in a bowl - Michelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock

Cherries jubilee is an old-time dessert that dates at least as far back as the 1890s, though variations likely existed before. Officially, it was invented by the famous French chef Auguste Escoffier while he was in England, who made it for the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria's ascension to the throne, which is known as a Diamond Jubilee. At the time, cherries were well-known as a favorite treat of the Queen. Escoffier's original recipe called for Kirsch liquor, in case you want your dish version to be historically accurate.

The dish later became a trendy staple of 1950s cookbooks because it was seen as a cosmopolitan dessert that was reasonably easy to make. The heyday of cherries jubilee might be over, but it's hardly an uncommon dish. Both Baskin-Robbins and Van Leeuwen have a cherry jubilee-flavored ice cream, which is cherry ice cream with rum and bourbon mixed with chunks of cherries.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.