I had the pleasure of having a helper in my kitchen the other day. As much as I love it when my boys lend an occasional hand in the kitchen, it was a treat to have a female assistant this time around! Heather Green is an aspiring photographer who, at age 12, started her own photography business. By age 15, she landed her first job photographing a wedding and her business grew from there.
Heather recently began working with Jeremy Hess Photographers, a group of super nice and incredibly talented people, with whom I have been fortunate enough to develop friendships thanks to various projects on which we have collaborated. When Jeremy arranged a day for Heather to observe what I do, perhaps gaining some insight into food photography, I was excited. I mean, a girl who is entrepreneurial enough to start her own business at age 12? I wanted to meet her! Jeremy told Heather not to bring her camera. The idea was just to hang out and see what I do in the kitchen…observe and ask questions. Well, Heather told me she couldn’t not bring her camera. She was practically born with a camera in hand, so that made perfect sense to me! I, of course, was more than happy to put down my camera for the day.
Because I wasn’t anticipating using her photos for something official, I had prepped an experimental recipe using the cherries my boys and I picked the day before. She went ahead and snapped some photos of the freshly baked crisp and, as we taste-tested after the pictures were taken and I later shared the dessert with my family, I was delighted that everyone liked it! For further critiques, I took some to my parents who happen to live next door. My sons informed me that I gave away too much….to which I replied that I would gladly make another; all they needed to do was pit the cherries for me!
This dessert is reason enough to own a cherry pitter, which not only makes quick work of the pitting but is a fun activity for the kids. The fact that this experimental dessert was a success gave me the opportunity to share Heather’s work here and officially thank her for her assistance in my kitchen. In sure was fun!
For another tasty option, I think the topping for my Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler would be equally delicious over the cherries. The cobbler topping is more cookie-like while the crisp in the recipe that follows is a bit more crumbly. (Yet I call this a crisp because, as I explain in the linked post, the difference between a crisp and a crumble is that, traditionally, a crisp does not contain oats.)
Yields 8 servings
- 5 cups sweet cherries, pitted (cups should be slightly rounded but not heaping, see notes)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup quinoa flakes (see notes)
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (see notes)
- 3/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
- Optional: whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving
- Preheat the oven onto 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10-inch round pie plate or oven-proof skillet, 9-inch square baking dish, or similarly sized shallow baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix the granulated sugar and the cornstarch, and then toss with the cherries. Spread the cherries evenly over the bottom of your baking dish. Set aside.
- Next combine the almond flour, quinoa flakes, brown rice flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the brown sugar. Pour in the melted butter or coconut oil, and stir until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.
- Spoon the topping evenly over the fruit.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the fruit is softened and bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Lightly drape with foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. You may remove the foil for the last few minutes of baking if you would like a little more browning on top.
- Allow the crisp to cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy warm. May also serve at room temperature. Enjoy as is or with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.
- Many people prefer a high ratio of topping to fruit in their cobblers and crisps. This recipe is for those people! However, if you are someone who prefers more fruit, you may use 3/4 of the topping and refrigerate the remaining amount for a smaller batch in the next few days. Conversely, feel free to add more cherries. This is a recipe that can easily be adjusted and cooked in a variety of pans. Use this topping over other fruits as well. I think blueberries, peaches, and apples would all be quite good.
- Five cups cherries weigh in at approximately 1 1/2 pounds before pitting.
- I have used quinoa flakes and quick or instant oats interchangeably in many recipes. While I have not yet used quick oats in this recipe, I would not hesitate to do so if you don't have quinoa flakes.
- I have used anywhere between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup brown sugar. If you prefer a less sweet, biscuit-like topping, I recommend 1/2 cup as written in the recipe above. If you prefer a little extra sweetness, try 2/3 cup the first time around.