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Recipe: Diana Henry’s Hot Cherries with Grappa and Ice Cream

Indulge yourself this summer with this quick and easy boozy berries recipe...

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Diana Henry’s last-minute pud is best made with fat, juicy dark cherries found in Kentish orchards. Check out this hot cherries with grappa and ice cream recipe… 

This is a last-minute pudding and some people hate serving those – they like to have everything sorted before their friends arrive – but it takes very little time and there’s something lovely about taking warm cherries to the table in a frying pan. I ate this in a restaurant in Norcia in Umbria. I travelled most of the day to get there because Claudia Roden, writing in The Observer newspaper, had recommended it. The owners had no idea that Claudia had recommended them and were so thrilled that they thanked us with more grappa than we could drink. (And ran around Norcia on a Sunday night trying to find a photocopier to copy Claudia’s piece. I left it with them.)

boozy berriesServes four


  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 450g pitted cherries
  • 100g caster sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 3–4 tbsp grappa
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve


  1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, then add the cherries and any juices that came out of them when you were pitting them. Toss them around over a medium heat, adding the sugar and stirring gently to help it dissolve. Add the lemon juice. Keep tossing the cherries and cooking until they have a thickish syrup around them.
  2. Add the grappa (you can now flambé the cherries if you want, but it’s not necessary) and you’re done. Take to the table and serve cold ice cream with the hot cherries.

diana henry

Recipe extracted from Simple: effortless food, big flavours by Diana Henry. Published by Mitchell Beazley, £25.00