The fruit of the sour cherry tree (prunus cerasus) and sugar are the main ingredients that go into making the PGI Amarene Brusche di Modena preserve, which is produced in the Modena province and in some municipalities in the metropolitan city of Bologna.
The history of this tangy preserve is closely connected to Modena’s culinary tradition. The first documented evidence of this speciality dates back to the Renaissance, when chef Bartolomeo Stefani included a recipe to make a sour cherry preserve in his L'Arte di Ben Cucinare (The Art of Cooking Well, 1662). In the late nineteenth century, the renowned Pellegrino Artusi also devoted a page of his recipe book to a fruit tart with a sour cherry preserve.
What ties the production of sour cherry preserve to this area is the fact that the product is widely available − the different properties of the cherries in the preserve ripen at the same time of year − and that cherries don't keep for very long. At one time, cooking the fruit and using it to make desserts and syrups was the best way to ensure it could be enjoyed for as long as possible.
When served straight from the jar with ice cream or as an ingredient in cakes, the tartness of PGI Amarene Brusche di Modena promises to add a unique twist to any dish. In Modena, the preserve is traditionally used to make sour cherry fruit tarts, which consist of a shortcrust pastry base and a sour cherry filling. The combination of the sweetness of the shortcrust pastry with the tangy taste of the preserve give this dessert its distinctive balance of flavours.