A beloved dessert with little known heritage, Auguste Escoffier is credited with the invention of Cherries Jubilee.
Based on her love of cherries, it’s said that Escoffier created this sweet and sour treat as a tribute to Queen Victoria for her Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1897. However, it has evolved throughout time as it’s original preparation included poaching the cherries in simple syrup and pouring warm brandy over them. The famed flame, however, has always been a staple!
Cherries Jubilee may be only one of Escoffier’s trademark dishes, but it’s popular enough to command it’s own ‘day’. Yes, September 24th is National #CherriesJubileeDay.
Below is the original recipe as written by Auguste Escoffier in ‘Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery’
Stone some fine cherries; poach them in syrup, and set them in small silver timbales. Reduce the syrup and thicken it with a little arrowroot, diluted with cold water; allowing one table-spoonful of arrowroot per half-pint of syrup. Cover the cherries with the thickened syrup; pour a coffee-spoonful of heated Kirsch into each timbale, and set a light to each when serving.
However, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Executive Pastry Chef, Anne Lanute, has simplified this traditional dessert. With some fun visualization from Escoffier Pastry Chef Instructors, Stefanie Bishop and Emily Pinsky, you can make this classic yet fun dessert at home.
Adapted by Escoffier Pastry Chef Instructors
- 454g Cherries, sour, pitted
- 100g Sugar, granulated
- 2g Salt
- 15g Lemon juice
- 1/2 Vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 70g Kirsch or Brandy
- 1 Pint Vanilla Ice Cream
- On medium low, gently warm the cherries with the sugar, salt, and lemon juice.
- When the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat up to medium high and saute the mixture until it has thickened.
- Add the Kirsch or Brandy to the pan away from the heat source. Quickly return the pan to the heat and ignite the alcohol. Do not delay lighting as you do not want the cherries to absorb the raw alcohol and retain a harsh flavor.
- Allow the cherry mixture to cook until the flame disappears.
- Spoon warm cherry mixture over vanilla ice cream.
Although this is a timeless recipe, it provides the opportunity to let your creativity shine! Case and point; Chef Stefanie has created both traditional and contemporary plating options for her rendition of Cherries Jubilee. See below for examples.
This version is on the traditional side using a large glass for presentation, adding the cherry mixture to the bottom, vanilla ice cream next, and a bit of the cherries and juices drizzled over top.
These next two photos depict a more contemporary or ‘deconstructed’ version by reducing the cherry sauce slightly and organically ‘flicking’ it onto the plate.
Here she presents the ice cream in a quenelle (formed into an egg-like shape), then adds the cherries and some vanilla shortbread crumble.
In this photo Chef Stefanie molded the ice cream into a rectangle silicone mold and froze it before assembling the rest of the components–proof that you can take a historically classic dish of any kind and re-invent it to showcase your personality!
Looking to have even more fun with this classic recipe? Take a look at Escoffier Chef Instructor Emily Pinsky’s TikTok version with some amazing skills by Chef Erin Kanagy-Loux!