The group that needed the cake had been turned down by several bakeries because of the icing. When I first saw the recipe, I guessed it was because the bakery didn't want to make boiled icing. Boiled icing was no problem for me...my mom has a specialty cake she used to take to every Fellowship Dinner that she frosted with boiled icing.
Happily, I agreed to make the cake.
Then I started working through the recipe, calculating how much of each ingredient I would need, when I came to crystallized cherries and candied pineapple.
It's 2011, the stores probably carry this stuff year round, right?
Oh, you are SO wrong.
After briefly panicking, I realized I COULD make them myself. Duh! It's 2011!
So off to the Internet I went. Candied fruit is pretty easy (just takes some time & space.) It's basically fruit boiled in sugar water and juice. Not super scientific!
Here is my version for about 2 cups of candied cherries:
2 jars maraschino cherries, drained, reserve juice
4 cups sugar
1 cup water
Bring juice from cherries, sugar and water to a boil.
Add cherries. Simmer with lid on for about 45 minutes or until cherries start to wrinkle and become transparent.
Turn off heat and let cool in pan.
Once completely cool, drain syrup from cherries.
On a cookie sheet lined with paper towels, spread out cherries to drain. (At this point I was a little concerned that I'd be picking of sticky paper towel from each cherry, but they didn't stick at all! Yeah me!!) Leave to drain and dry for 24 hours or so. Store cherries in plastic container in fridge...will last for months!