- 2 1/4 pounds pitted fresh or thawed frozen sour cherries (7 cups, or 3 1/4 pounds if buying fresh and pitting)
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 2 cups water
- Large pinch of salt
- 5 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin, divided
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
- 1/4 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Bring cherries, 1 cup sugar, the water, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer until liquid is reduced by about half, 12 to 15 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing very firmly on solids to release as much juice as possible (you should have 4 cups). Refrigerate until cooled completely, about 1 hour.
Place 1 1/2 cups cherry liquid in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle 4 1/2 teaspoons gelatin over liquid, and let soften, about 8 minutes. Heat mixture over medium heat until gelatin dissolves completely and mixture is about to simmer, about 4 minutes (do not let boil). Turn off heat, and gradually stir in remaining 2 1/2 cups cherry liquid; pour cherry-gelatin mixture back into bowl. Place bowl in a larger bowl of ice water, and refrigerate until softly set, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring once halfway through with a rubber spatula.
Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons cream, the remaining sugar, and the vanilla in a small saucepan. Sprinkle with remaining gelatin, and let soften, about 8 minutes. Heat mixture over medium heat until gelatin dissolves and mixture is about to simmer, about 2 minutes (do not let boil). Whisk in remaining cream until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, and place bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Refrigerate until thickened, about 15 minutes. (Both mixtures should be approximately the same consistency.)
Whisk cream mixture, and strain through a fine sieve. Spoon cream mixture into a small disposable pastry bag, and snip off tip. Whisk gelee until thick but pourable. Divide gelee among 6 bowls, and shake to settle. Working with 1 gelee at a time, pipe 6 to 8 cream dots of varying sizes onto top, then draw a wooden skewer through them to create a swirled pattern. Refrigerate gelees until just set, at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.