Prep 30 mins
Cook 15 mins
From Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, 2006 Edition. Cherries should be pitted, coarsely chopped, then packed to measure 3 cups. Recipe suggests serving with cheese, tucked into ice cream balls to make tartufo, or spread between cake layers or cookie sandwiches. Directions assume knowledge of hot water bath canning procedures. If you are new to canning, the cookbook mentioned above contains wonderfully detailed canning instructions. Another good resource is the Ball Blue Book.
- 6 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 3 cups firmly packed coarsely chopped pitted sweet black cherries
- 1⁄2 cup lemon juice
- 2 (3 ounce) packages liquid pectin
- 4 tablespoons amaretto liqueur or 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
- Prepare canner, jars, and lids.
- In a bowl, combine sugar and cocoa. Stir well.
- In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine cherries and lemon juice. Stir in cocoa mixture. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
- Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in Amaretto. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
- Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and add hot preserves if needed. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil, then process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.
I love this recipe, and make it every year after my family goes to the local u-pick cherry orchard. Make sure you use a good quality cocoa powder, one year I used a cheap store brand because it was in the pantry. That batch did have a weird 'fake chocolate' taste to it that wasn't good on toast, I ended up using it up as a filling in cakes just so it wouldn't go to waste. I have used ghirardelli for good results and my favorite is E Guittard unsweetened rouge red cocoa powder. I only used 1 box of pectin and it set fine, firm enough to mound up but still had a nice softness to it that make it seem even richer spread on anything from regular whole wheat to toast brioche. Another variation I've done is with Rainier cherries, the overall color isn't as dark but the taste is awesome.
I hate giving less than glowing reviews but I have to be honest here. When I saw that this took 2 packs of pectin, I was leery but thought "Ok, it came from Blue Book... should be fine." It wasn't. This came out with a texture so firm that it can be sliced like the cranberry sauce one gets in a can. Not really what I wanted in a preserve. Plus the cocoa gives it... I don't know how to describe it... a fake taste I guess. I know that it is now not recommended to use solid unsweetened chocolate in canning but I can't help but think that this would have been better had I done so. With the cocoa and cherry mix, it came across as a cheap candy flavor. Add that to the firmness and I'm not really sure WHAT to do with the 9 jars I have (another issue there was the amount being inaccurate). I wish I had better things to say; I really do but I won't be making this one again. I'm sorry :-(
I used Frangelico instead of the ?Amaretto, but the preserves came out beautifully, and with a flavor that shocked everyone who dipped into the bowl at the family dinner!! The set up beautifully, and looked great. I added 1/2 teaspoon of butter at the end just before processing to cut down the foam. After all the requests for a jar, I was left with about a tablespoon for my family after everyone left (LOL)