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Celebrate Return of Downton Days With Classic Cherries Jubilee

My favorite word of the Season: Donk

Downton Days are here again on PBS. A brand new year with a brand new glorious commercial-free season of Downton, just the way we like it. I was particularly thrilled that the great chefs at PBS didn’t mess with the UK version or feed us extra portions; in past years they would edit the shows and serve E1 and E2 together, which is ever so delicious but makes the season so much shorter. Season 5 promises to be a great season, full of secrets and love in the most unexpected places. Lord D particularly enjoyed the  Manners of Downton Abbey special which followed Episode 1.

Over the past few weeks, many fans approached me for food pairing ideas to celebrate the launch of Season 5.  My Online Guide to Hosting a Downton Abbey Party has plenty of ideas. When pressed for a specific dish for this episode, I suggested a flambé (but not disclosing Edith’s bedroom fire), since any time you set fire to food, it is a special occasion.  I chose Cherries Jubilee for its simplicity, grand effect, and the connection of its creator, Auguste Escoffier, to Downton Abbey.

Downton Dish

A sad farewell to Jimmy

Season 5 of Downton Abbey has finally arrived in North America, broadcast on PBS, Sunday nights at 9 PM. Some appetizing articles to whet your appetite.

What happened in S5E1-2

While I love watching Downton on PBS without commercial interruption, I really enjoyed the controversial Amazon Downton commercials on ITV; I am back to my dream of appearing as an extra on the show. I may settle for a tour of Highclere in the new year. Stay tuned.

In any event, here are the highlights from our first look at Downton’s Season 5:

Best quote:

Violet: “There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends, that’s the real test.”

Cherries Jubilee


Spectacular Cherries Jubilee

This delightful dish dates back to the 1800s. The dish was created by Chef Auguste Escoffier in honour of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebration. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Edwardian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 4 cups quality vanilla ice cream or frozen yoghurt
  • 1 lb. fresh cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/3 cup Kirsch (or brandy)


  • To help keep the ice cream from melting too quickly:  scoop ice cream into 4 decorative dishes and keep in the freezer in advance.
  • Wash and pit the cherries. If you don't have a pitter, you can improvise. Place the cherry, stem side down on top of an empty glass soda bottle. Use a  chopstick to force the pit through into the bottle.
  • Place the cherries and sugar in a large skillet.  Peel 2 large strips of zest from the lemon, add to the skillet, and then squeeze the lemon into the the skillet.
  • Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cover and raise the heat and cook for another five minutes to release the juices from the cherries.
  • To flambe, heat the Kirsch in a small pot on the stove.  It will only take a couple of minutes.  Ignite with a long match and carefully pour over the cherries, swirling until the flames subside.
  • Bring our the serving dishes and spoon the cherries and syrup over top the ice cream.
  • Serve immediately as the ice cream will melt.


Tools of the Trade

Every cook needs proper tools
While cooks in Downton’s era may not have had exactly the same type of kitchen gadgets, Victorian cooks did start the craze for creating a tool for each job in the kitchen, so I blame our ancestors for my obsession with collecting these time savers.
You can even order this stuff directly from Amazon so you have more time to watch Downton.
Cherry Pitters

Downton Gift Giving

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