The hardest part of this recipe is removing the pits from the cherries. Use a cherry pitter, cherry stoner, large sewing needle, or—if you have the time—a paper clip to remove the pits. Sour cherry spoon sweet (aka vyssino glyko tou Koutaliou—in Greek: βύσσινο γλυκό του κουταλιού, pronounced VEE-see-no ghlee-KOH too koo-tal-YOO) is one of the Greek favorites, and it can be served along with a glass of water, with a cup of Greek coffee or spooned over Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
- 2 3/4 pounds cherries (sour variety, fresh)
- 7 1/2 cups sugar (granulated)
- 7/8 cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Wash the cherries well.
Remove stems and pits carefully, keeping cherries intact.
In a wide pot, lay the cherries in layers, covering each layer with sugar, until all the cherries and all the sugar have been used.
Set aside for 3 hours.
Add the water to the pot and bring the cherries and sugar to a boil over high heat. Skim off foam as it rises to the top with a slotted spoon. When the syrup thickens, add the lemon juice and allow to boil for another few seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
When thoroughly cooled, place in airtight glass jars to store.
To serve, place 2 to 3 teaspoonfuls of the cherries and syrup on a small plate. Serve alone, with coffee, or as a topping on yogurt, vanilla ice cream, tarts, or other desserts. Sour cherry spoon sweet is always served with a glass of cold water.
Note: If you plan to make Vyssinatha (non-alcoholic cherry cordial) that uses the sour cherry syrup, add an extra 4 cups of sugar to this recipe to increase the quantity of syrup.