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Cherries Jubilee warms the heart for Valentine's Day

Sherrel Jones shares a recipe for the dessert she and her husband have enjoyed for more than four decades.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: February 12, 2014

It's almost Valentine's Day, and I'm pulling a little round table into our library and positioning it in front of the fireplace. We will celebrate as always, at home in front of a cozy fire, enjoying a dinnerof a couple of steaks with all the trimmings. For dessert, our favorite is cherries jubilee.

Cherries jubilee reminds me of a simmering romance. The melting of a cold heart was sparked by a set of copper pots hanging in a miniature kitchen owned by the man I would marry. One of the pots was specially designed for this French dessert classic.

My husband has never been a cook. He can toast in a toaster, boil water for brewing tea, put cereal in a bowl, cut up bananas and strawberries and heat soup if he's hungry while I'm away from home.

Imagine my shock and awe the first time I visited his home in Enid and saw a set of copper pans in a kitchen so tiny you couldn't open the refrigerator and the oven door at the same time. That lovely set of copper pans just didn't fit. I had dated several men who were pretty good cooks, but none had such a fine set of pans. So with my curiosity aroused, our relationship grew.

Those copper pans were never used except for a small saucepan he warmed soup in. I've added to the pan collection over the years and kept them all polished. Now they hang ready to use in our much larger kitchen.

They serve as a reminder for us that romance needs to be tended, you might even say “polished,” in order to shine through the years. Not every night can be cherries jubilee, so it's a good idea to enjoy it when you can.

These days I still make cherries jubilee as I did the first time — shortcut fashion using canned cherry pie filling mixed with cherry brandy. Occasionally I've used homemade ice cream, but busy times afford a decadent excuse to buy some Haagen-Dazs vanilla. You can dip it up ahead so those rich little scoops of very vanilla ice cream are ready to take on the flaming hot brandy infusion of cherries. Do not try any flaming dish without careful consideration to surroundings. Though I would love to finish this dish in grand style from a tableside food cart, I do it in the kitchen and ask for assistance. The flaming cherries do require caution by clearing the cooking area. Don't wear big floppy sleeves and make sure guests keep their distance. Keep a little pie filling portion separate from the brandied one.

Cherries Jubilee

Makes 4-6 servings

1 pint premium vanilla ice cream (Braum's or Haagen-Dazs)

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