This compote makes an easy but elegant dessert sauce to top ice-cream, cheesecake or drizzle over a Pavlova. Honey sweetened mascarpone cream would also be divine and I promise not to tell anyone if you enhance your morning yogurt with these boozy cherries.
I used Mt. Lehman winery’s Reserve Merlot and owner and wine-maker Vern suggested using their Three Amigos which has black cherry nuances.
1 ½ cup red wine
¼ cup golden brown or white sugar
1 Tbsp.vanilla bean paste
1 cinnamon stick
About 24 cherries, (300 gms or so) pitted and halved
Optional add-ins are strips of orange zest, cardamom pods or black peppercorns, tied in cheesecloth and removed after cooking.
Bring wine and brown sugar to a boil, add the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean paste and optional add-ins, if using.
Continue cooking at a boil for 5-7 minutes, until mixture reduces and becomes slightly syrupy. Reduce heat to simmer and add cherries.
Cook for another 5 minutes until cherries are softened.
Cool and refrigerate leftovers, if there are any!