Wild Cherry and Meadowsweet Syrup
This luscious, versatile syrup can be poured over pancakes and waffles, used as a cordial with sparkling water or, as pictured here, to make a gorgeous sundae. Use good vanilla ice cream, a few cherries, a swirl of freshly whipped cream and perhaps some toasted chopped nuts. The heady scent of meadowsweet gives the syrup an extra hint of almond (and will even perk up bland imported cultivated cherries, if you can’t find any wild ones).
- 500g wild cherries
- 5 heads of open meadowsweet flowers
- 5 young, tender meadowsweet stems with young leaves
- 200g granulated sugar
- Juice of half an orange
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- Rinse the cherries and drain them in a colander. Remove and discard the stems, then put the fruit in a medium saucepan.
- Gently shake the meadowsweet flowers to remove any stowaways and add them to the pan of cherries. Roll the young meadowsweet stems and leaves between your palms to release their oils, and add them to the pan with the sugar, orange juice and 200ml cold water. Stir well, cover with a lid and slowly bring to the boil.
- When boiling, remove the lid and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15–20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cherries are completely soft.
- When the cherries are cooked, turn off the heat and gently squash the cherries to release their juice (a potato masher is excellent for this).
- Tip the contents of the pan into a fine sieve set over a bowl. Stir the solids that remain in the seive and press the cherries with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as you can.
Empty and rinse the seive, then line it with muslin and and strain the syrup mixture back into the rinsed-out pan.
- Mix the cornflour with 100ml water to make a smooth cream. Stir the cornflower water into the syrup and set the pan over a gentle heat. Stirring constantly, bring the syrup up to simmering point and let it bubble gently for about 5 minutes, until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool a little before decanting into a sterilised bottle. Unopened, the syrup should keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Recipe by Wild Food UK; development and photos by Otherwise