Drunken Cherries with Orange Blossom Chenna

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This simple dessert is based on the pairing of fresh milk cheese with three of my favorite flavors: cherries, orange blossom, and sake. Chances are you’ve never had a dessert made with both sake and balsamic vinegar. The convergence of three great culinary traditions—Indian, Italian, and Japanese—in one mouthful is fusion at its best.

CHEF’S TIPS: You can buy chenna in Indian markets or strain all the liquid out of fresh ricotta cheese, through a fine-mesh sieve as a substitute.

You can make both the chenna and cherries ahead of time and assemble the dessert just before serving.

Makes8 servings



Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, low carb, peanut free



Taste and Texturecheesy, fruity, nutty, sweet, winey

Type of Dishdessert, fruit


  • 1 1/3 cups (15 ounces/425 grams) chenna
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (3½ ounces/100 grams) sour cream
  • 1/3 cup (2½ ounces/70 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds (907 grams) cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise in half, seeds scraped out, and seeds and pod reserved, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces/56 grams) sake
  • ¼ cup (1 1/8 ounces/31 grams) shelled pistachios, toasted and salted, for garnish


To make the chenna: Lightly mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the drunken cherries: Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours; do not let sit overnight.

To serve, remove the vanilla bean, and divide the cherries and the juices among 8 dishes. Top with the chenna, garnish with the pistachios and orange zest, and serve.


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