Varenye is Russian for fruit preserves. Varenye differs from American-style fruit preserves in that it's syrupy rather that spreadable. Though it can be made from any kind of fruit, in my family varenye was just one flavor: sour cherry.
You can find decent quality varenye at most Russian stores, but homemade is best.
Luckily, at the very end of cherry season I happened to score some u-pick sour cherries with which to make it.
But before I get to the recipe, the fall issue of Cooking Club magazine is out! Check out the "Weeknight Cook" column (on page 46) for four recipes by yours truly. My Seared Sirloin Steaks with Horseradish Cream Sauce, Spicy Baked Catfish with Garlic Butter, Smothered Pork Chops with Onion Gravy, and Spiced Chicken Drumsticks with Blood Orange, Red Onion and Parsley Salad are simple and delicious, even if I do say so myself.
Also, the fall Clark College class schedule just came out. I'll be teaching Baked Custards, Seared to Perfection, and The Season for Soup. Please join me in the kitchen! Current class listings can always be found in the Cooking Classes, Book Signings & Appearances sidebar on the right.
Sour Cherry Varenye
1 pound sour cherries, pitted
12 ounces sugar
Toss together the cherries and sugar in a small saucepan and let macerate, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until soft and juicy. Stir in 4 ounces of water. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally and skimming off any scum that rises to the surface, for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until thickened and slightly syrupy.
Makes about 1 ½ cups. Keeps for months tightly sealed in the refrigerator. For teatime in the Russian style, forgo the sugar and sweeten your hot tea with a spoonful of varenye.