Recipe from La Buvette: Recipes And Wine Notes From Paris. Words Camille Fourmont and Kate Leahy, photographs by Marcus Nilsson.
Makes 1 pint.
8 ounces sweet cherries with their stems, preferably big and sweet but not overly ripe
⅔ cup rice vinegar
⅓ cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon whole timut or sansho peppercorns*
When washing the cherries, take care to keep the stem intact (keeping the fruit whole, with stems in place, makes cherry pickles elegant to serve and prevents too much brine soaking in the fruit), and gently pack them into a pint jar or a heatproof storage container—whatever they will fit in comfortably without losing their stems.
In a pot, heat the vinegar, water, sugar and salt together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves—it doesn’t have to boil. Let the brine cool for a few minutes until it is the temperature of a hot bath. (The cherries are fragile, so it’s better not to heat them too much.) Pour the brine over the cherries and let the pickles cool on the counter. Once cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day before eating. The cherries are best within 1 week, but they will keep for several months in the refrigerator, growing stronger in vinegar flavour.
*To accent the sweetness of the fruit, I infuse the brine with whole timut peppercorns, a
beautiful citrus-like spice (that is actually not a true peppercorn). Japanese sansho peppercorns impart a similar flavour. If you can’t find either, use good quality black peppercorns.