Here in the states, we’re coming off a three day weekend. Jane and I love three day weekends (who doesn’t?) because it gives us a chance to decompress, unplug, and either do something grand or nothing at all.
For some reason, we always feel guilty when a weekend passes us by. Normally, it’s reserved for running errands and doing all the other stuff you’re unable to do during the week, so we’re usually pretty busy.
However, on three day weekends, we feel less guilty lounging around and relaxing. Some friends invited us to hang out at the beach for an all day event, and I mean all day. They arrived at 7:00am to reserve a fire pit. While Jane and I couldn’t make it there that early, I think we managed to get there by noon, we nonetheless stayed until well after dark, roasting s’mores and having a great fun. We also got a little red in the process 🙂
Everyone brought something so there was plenty of food; Jane made chicken salad from scratch. It was an overall good time. We sat soaking up the sun, relaxing during the day. And at night, staring mindlessly into the fire. It was just what we needed and a perfect way to close out summer, even if it doesn’t technically end for a few more weeks.
Sour Cherry Spoon Sweet
Speaking of summer, there is something I associate with Greece that Jane and I made. It’s one of Greece’s most popular spoon sweets, Sour Cherries (Γλυκο Βυσσινο). For those of you that are not familiar with spoon sweets, it’s popular in Greece to store all kinds of fruit in a sugary syrup and serve them with coffee, on ice cream, in a drink (more about that later), in yogurt – anything.
I remember the first time I was served this. I wasn’t sure how I’d like it. I didn’t really eat cherries. That day changed my life. I could see why it’s the most popular spoon sweet around. Then again, who can resist fruit coated in a delectable syrup.
Luckily, the process of recreating this spoon sweet in your kitchen is pretty easy once you get past having to pit the cherries. For this, we recommend using a cherry pitter (that’s the one we have). Back in the day people would use needles, bobbie pins, anything like that. Some still do, but using a cherry pitter makes life easy.
Once you get all the cherries pitted, only thing to remember is to soak the cherries in some water and sugar overnight in the refrigerator.
The Spoon Test
The biggest concern when making this recipe is knowing when it’s time to remove it from the heat. The test I was taught was to dip a spoon in the the pot, and let it drip over a plate. If the drops stayed put (like below) it was ready. If they were runny, more time was needed.
You’ll want to check it as you go, to make sure it’s not over done. If that happens, and it’s happen to us, when it cools, the sugar becomes rock hard and the dish isn’t going to work. At least that’s how its ended for us when we started making it.
Once everything has cooled, you’re ready to serve. Another very popular thing to do, especially during summer, or whenever you make this, is to make a drink called, Vyssinatha.
We store ours in a mason jar, in a place that doesn’t get direct sunlight. Since it has a natural preservative (sugar), it will keep for some time. It’s never really lasted more that about a week and a half here, so that’s all I can say for sure. However, I think it would keep longer.
Besides having a spoonful on a plate, we like putting it over Greek yogurt, and on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We hope you’ll give this a try. If so let us know how you enjoy eating it.
We say this in the notes below, but keep in mind that traditionally, this is made using sour cherries, which are different than what you’ll find in your local store’s produce section. While it taste a little different, we just use the sweet cherries, the ones that every grocery store has. They come out great. As we always say, improvise and use what you’ve got.
Kenton & Jane
- 1 pound bag of cherries, pitted.*
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- In a pan, layer cherries and sugar: add ½ of the cherries, 1 cup sugar, remaining cherries, and remaining sugar.
- Pour water over cherries/sugar mixture.
- Place in refrigerator overnight.
- Remove, gently stir to mix everything together and make sure sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer.
- Simmer for 25 minutes, scooping off foam with a slotted spoon**
- At the 25 minutes mark, add in vanilla extract.
- Continuing simmering for another 10-15 minutes, or until it passed the spoon test (see above).
- When done, add lemon juice, simmer for 1 minute, turn off heat, and let cool.
- Once cool, pour into mason jar or whatever you're using to store.
- You're now ready to serve. Spoon some onto a plate and enjoy!
**For the first 10-15 minutes or so, foam will form, scoop this off using a slotted spoon and discard. We usually keep a bowl nearby to make it easy to remove.