Why Your Cherry Desserts Will Taste Better With A Splash Of Vinegar

Take a look at any cherry dessert recipe and you'll likely come across a few staple ingredients listed. There's sugar for sweetness and dairy for richness, the occasional egg for leavening, and probably a cup or two of flour to help bind things together. While the lineup may vary depending on whether you whip up a juicy pie filling or stone fruit-infused brownies, there's one ingredient that should always be added to cherry-based desserts, and that's vinegar.

Odd as it may seem to add the sour condiment to your favorite desserts, most sugary delights tend to require some sort of acidic component in their recipe as it can enhance flavor, restore balance, and even improve the texture. Yet, while sources of tang often come from a squeeze of citrus or a touch of cultured dairy, vinegar is just as qualified for the task. In fact, the mouth-puckering liquid can actually accentuate cherries' natural acidity. As a result, this translates to more well-rounded desserts as the increased tartness from the vinegar offsets extreme sweetness. 

How to effectively add vinegar to any cherry-laden dessert

Since cherries tend to become more honeyed as they cook, it's best to work vinegar into recipes where the fruits will be baked, roasted, or simmered. Pies, tarts, cobblers, crumbles, or clafoutis can all benefit from a pop of acidity, much like cherry upside-down cake, blondies, or muffins. A hint of zippy vinegar can also be stirred into sugary cherry syrups, glazes, and roasted fruit salsas that are destined to be poured over decadent cheesecakes and velvety fior di latte gelato.

If we've successfully persuaded you to incorporate vinegar into your latest cherry confection, you might be wondering if there's an ideal variety to use. To this, we'd say that white vinegar is a good neutral option, but the choice is really up to you. Feel free to experiment with other vinegars like a mellow apple cider vinegar or a crisp Champagne vinegar. Add nutty nuances with Sherry vinegar or floral notes with honey vinegar. For added drama, reach for smoky black vinegar. 

Once you've selected the vinegar of your choice, use it sparingly. A teaspoon or two is more than enough to wake cherries up and highlight their vibrance. Just mix a spoonful with the stone fruit and continue following your intended recipe. Though the vinegar won't drastically impact texture or appearance, your tastebuds won't be able to get enough of the perfectly harmonized, uber delicious, cherry desserts.