Bring cherry cider and dried cherries to boil in heavy large saucepan. Remove from heat. Cover; let steep 20 minutes.
Bring dried cherry mixture to simmer. Mix in cherries and sugar. Simmer until cherries soften, about 2 minutes for fresh and 5 minutes for frozen. Mix brandy and cornstarch in bowl to blend. Slowly stir into cherry mixture. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Cool. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 2 days ahead.)
Bon Appétit, Restaurant: Magnolia Grill, Durham NC, June 1998