Make this delicious, beautiful and very simple stovetop dessert well in advance or right before serving. You can get fine results from frozen cherries (they come pitted and unsweetened in sealed plastic bags), if fresh are unavailable. No need to defrost before using.
- Notes: To blanch almonds, place them in a colander over a sink. Pour boiling water over them, and rub off the skins. Cut vertically with a sharp knife to sliver them. To whip ricotta, beat it vigorously with a whisk or at high speed with an electric mixer.
- 4 cups pitted cherries
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Optional: 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds
- Toppings: whipped cream or whipped ricotta cheese or plain yogurt with a few blanched almonds folded in
1) Place cherries in a heavy medium-sized saucepan, and cook over medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and sugar in a small bowl. Add lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Stir this into the hot cherries, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick (5 to 8 minutes).
3) Remove from heat and stir in lemon rind, almond extract and slivered almonds. Serve hot, warm, room, temperature, or cold, top with whipped cream, whipped ricotta or yogurt.