The founding fathers didn't plan it this way, but the nation's birthday celebration occurs smack dab in the middle of the Northwest fresh sweet cherry season. Even though young George Washington apparently had an ax to grind with the tree itself, other colonists worked long and hard to develop cherry orchards in their adopted land.
Fresh Cherry Jubilee is a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July. This easy, but elegant dessert creates fireworks of its own when warmed brandy is poured over the sweet cherry, orange juice and cornstarch base and then ignited. When the flames die down, the sauce is ladled over scoops of rich vanilla ice cream. All the sweet cherry varieties work well in Fresh Cherry Jubilee, although dark cherries offer a more dramatic color contrast with the ice cream. Enjoy the Jubilee while you can, because the Northwest fresh cherry season is brief. They arrive in markets beginning in June and are gone by mid-August.
Combine sugar and cornstarch. Blend in water and orange juice. Cook and stir until thickened and smooth. Add cherries and orange peel; return to boil and simmer 10 minutes. Gently heat brandy, pour over sauce and flame, if desired. Serve over ice cream. Recipe may be halved.
Per Serving: 204 Cal., 2.5 g pro., 7.1 g fat (31% Cal. from fat), 29.6 g carb., 30 mg chol., 0 g fiber and 58 mg sodium.