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Cherry Coulis

Monday, June 04, 2018

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. -Lao Tzu

Three years ago my foodie friend April Steinert, wrote about vivid, voluptuous sweet cherries on her blog about life, food and spirits. 


It proved to be a healthy, quick and easy, lick-the-bowl-clean seasonal recipe responsible for a tremendous amount of reader thank you notes. We tagged it as a fresh cherry season "must serve" once or twice every year.

April’s recipe makes enough for six very generous servings and I made it one more time yesterday to share with Colorado friends at a thoughtful Memorial Day dinner.

We present it again to honor April and her beloved husband, Dr. Roger Steinert and his lifelong contribution to Ophthalmology and medical education. 

Sweet Cherry Coulis ingredients

2 pounds fresh sweet cherries
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1 generous tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar (this is key).

Balsamic vinegar has been produced since the Renaissance and it's highly valued by chefs and gourmet food lovers. The good stuff acetobalsamicotradizionale from Modena, Italy has been aged for at least 12 years and it's pricey, but worth every penny. It's used sparingly and can be stored indefinitely in a cool dark place away from heat. Treat yourself or someone you like or love to the really good stuff—​I promise you won't regret it.



Pit the cherries, using a cherry pitter  (if you don't have a cherry pitter, we recommend buying one since they are inexpensive and save a lot of time, prevent stained hands, and we have found that owning one stimulates us to purchase more nutrient powerhouse fresh cherries when they are in season).  

Cut the pitted cherries in half and place in a saucepan. Sprinkle the sugar and water over the cherries. Mix well, cover and bring to a very slow simmer for around 30 minutes, or until the cherries release their juices.

Remove the cover and simmer to slightly thicken. Gently mash any remaining cherries with the back of a large spoon. Let completely cool, then add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Keep refrigerated until serving time.


You could also serve this coulis warm, which is a divine contrast to the cold panna cotta.  April served hers over toasted almond gelato, and it's also fabulous over French or regular vanilla ice cream. 

Perfect panna cotta  (six servings)

This is incredibly easy to make—and it’s almost foolproof.



4 cups half and half 

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3 packets unflavored powdered gelatin

6 tablespoons cold water


Lightly oil six custard cups with neutral-tasting oil, or one quart-size mold.


Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a bowl and let stand for five to 10 minutes, or until completely dissolved.


Heat the half and half and sugar in a pan until the sugar is dissolved, but do NOT let it come to a boil. 

Remove from heat and add vanilla and almond extract. 

Add the cool dissolved gelatin to the pan and stir until the spoon has no trace of gelatin or sugar on the back.


Pour the mixture into the prepared custard cups or jello-type mold and chill until firm, which will take at least four hours.


Run a sharp knife around the edge of each panna cotta and unmold onto plates or serving bowls with generous amounts of April's cherry coulis, or serve right in the custard cup with a generous serving of coulis on top.


Nutritional information

Fresh cherries are nutrient-dense treasures, reported to be a good source of vitamin C, carotenoids, fiber, melatonin, potassium, phytochemicals linked to inflammation control, anthocyanins linked to insulin control and neuronal cell protection.


Balsamic vinegar is reported to have antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties.

The powdered unflavored animal gelatin we use in our panna cotta is a great source of protein and collagen, both frequently linked to healthy hair, skin and nails. Vegetarian gelatin is made from seaweed and sold as agar.  

A generous one half cup serving of half and half includes approximately 180 calories, 4 grams of protein,170 mg of potassium and 135 mg of calcium, so all in all this nutrient-dense dessert is worth every calorie.

Ellen Troyer, Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff.

Roger Steinert, MD, was an esteemed founding member of the Biosyntrx scientific advisory board, as well as the dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine, and the Ophthalmology Chair.  He died on June 6, 2017. His passing left a hole in the hearts of family, old and new friends, colleagues and students, as well as a hard-to-fill vacancy in national and international Ophthalmology education.