Summer is still here, thank goodness. The NFL pre-season has begun and the back-to-school commercials have started appearing on TV. This is how the beginning of my birth month goes each and every year. I just love August as it is always bittersweet, pleasantly so. It’s time to relish everything summer has to offer as our days grow shorter and shorter by the minute, prepare ourselves to say good-bye to her and yet anxiously await the autumn season.
It’s time to appreciate the stark beauty of bright yellow sunflowers, delight in the last of summer’s tart cherries and the divine sweet and fruity taste of juicy and fuzzy fresh peaches while easing ourselves into thoughts of shorter, crisp and cool fall days. August is definitely a time of transition—albeit emotionally and psychologically.
Some may say that September is the true time of transition because summer continues well into the month. However, by then, at least for most of us, we are back in the saddle again with new routines as the academic year begins and we are already prepared to embrace fall and all her glory once again. For now, I say we embrace summer at her fullest and put all thoughts of fall aside—even if fall is my very favorite time of year.
As a relatively new food blogger, I had contemplated whether I should continue my tart cherry mania here on the blog with yet one more recipe, or forge ahead with peaches and then settle into baking cakes and cookies or start working with apples, chocolate, nuts, Nutella, peanut butter and pumpkin as well as share some wickedly cheesy and spicy-hot football fare in full anticipation of the fall season. Although I look forward to sharing those recipes with y’all, the truth is I cannot help but be driven to hold onto summer during these last precious weeks. I keep telling myself, there will be time for all that other good stuff later.
Missing out last summer on fresh berries and fruit of any sort kind of scarred me. As most of you may know, I was on a special diet of no dairy, grains or sugar (including fruit!). By all accounts it was strict paleo (stricter than my usual paleo regimen which allows fresh fruit and chocolate treats from time to time), in order to recover from a terrible infection. So, I think I am making up for lost time this summer. Don’t you?
Being fully aware of the fact that I could be boring you to tears with yet another tart cherry recipe calling for our Homemade Tart Cherry Pie Filling, I am going to present you with an incredibly easy and tasty tart cherry recipe regardless. Why? Because, my friends, this is as easy as it gets when relishing these last treasured days of summer and what the season has to offer in the way of fresh tart cherries with a big payoff for such little time in the kitchen. Big time. Of course, this takes into account first having made the pie filling for an easy breezy day in the kitchen.
Today, I am presenting you with a simple but scrumptious Tart Cherry Crisp. The streusel topping is a variation of the topping from my Cranberry & Cider Honeycrisp Apple Crisp recipe.
A side note: If you have never tasted apple crisp made from fresh in-season Honeycrisp apples, you do not know what you are missing. These apples are especially juicy and taste just like apple cider. I swear, they are apple cider apples! They are my very favorite apple in the entire world and start appearing in markets in September. I may even prepare this recipe again and reshoot it because even though I reworked the image for an “eye-catching” Pinterest pin, it didn’t fare very well in my test this morning, putting rubber to the road, on a large group board. So back to the kitchen on that one!
However, instead of using light or dark brown sugar typically found in a crisp or crumble topping, I simply call for flavorful granulated organic cane sugar. (I like to use Zulka® or 365 Organics brand by Whole Foods Market®.) This sugar tastes incredible right from the spoon, I tell you! And, I am not being paid to tell you so. Also, I use a light hand when it comes to the cinnamon and incorporate sliced almonds to complement the tart cherry flavor versus a heartier nut like pecans or walnuts. Plus, I think this “blonde” streusel complements the stark red cherry color as well. The result? Simply sublime, people!
So, here is yet another easy to prepare tart cherry fresh summer fruit dessert without all the muss and fuss of a pie. There’s always next year to share with you my Mom’s Michigan Tart Cherry Pie. Or, perhaps I will share it with you sooner as frozen Michigan Montmorency tart cherries will be available, locally here at Stuckey Farm, in Sheridan, Indiana, until apple picking season gets underway. In fact, I currently have 10 pounds of tart Montmorency cherries from Michigan in my freezer. (I kid you not.) There’s nothing like making a tart cherry pie in November for Thanksgiving as a special treat!
If you are serious about acquiring some frozen tart or sweet cherries for baking, or just want to read more about cherry orchards and the families behind them, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite sites: KingOrchards.com. Not only do they have a cute site with a store offering healthy tart cherry juice and frozen tart cherries, they even have a blog!
And, as I’ve shared with you in my previous post, if you’d like an easy approach to making our Tart Cherry Crisp, you can always opt for using Fruit Perfect® Sour Cherries made with tart (sour) Montmorency cherries from my native Michigan by American Spoon Foods. You will love it. It’s sheer heaven in a jar. Again, I am not being paid for saying so. I just adore the stuff!
What makes our Tart Cherry Crisp wicked good? A sumptuous homemade cherry pie filling made with plenty of fresh picked tart cherries as well as a “blonde” oat streusel topping with just the right salty-sweet and buttery richness you would expect in a darn good tart cherry pie and accented with the subtle crunch of sliced almonds and a whisper of cinnamon. Scrumptious. Both easy and scrumptious. What’s not to love about that?
What makes our Tart Cherry Crisp wicked good? A sumptuous homemade cherry pie filling made with plenty of fresh picked tart cherries as well as a “blonde” oat streusel topping with just the right salty-sweet and buttery richness you would expect in a darn good tart cherry pie and accented with the subtle crunch of sliced almonds. Scrumptious. Both easy and scrumptious. What’s not to love about that?
- For the Tart Cherry Pie Filling
- 3 cups (1½ pints/810 grams) Homemade Tart Cherry Pie Filling, by Wicked Good Kitchen™
- For the Almond Streusel Topping
- ¾ cup (68 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats, such as Quaker®
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (78 grams) all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal®
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (112 grams) granulated cane sugar, such as Zulka®
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick/85 grams) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 tablespoons (36 grams) sliced blanched or unblanched almonds
- Shortening, to prepare baking dish, such as organic palm by Spectrum®
Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or baking dish with shortening. Spoon and pour filling into prepared baking dish and smooth the top evenly with rubber spatula.
Prepare the Almond Streusel Topping: In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and toss to coat with flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles very coarse crumbs. Finish blending with fingers until mixture holds together in clumps. Gently toss in nuts.
Use hand to gently clump portions of streusel by squeezing and use fingers to sprinkle small clumps of streusel evenly over top of filling.
Bake until juices are bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 50 minutes. To prevent topping from browning excessively, cover with aluminum foil during last 15 to 20 minutes of baking. Cool on wire rack.
To Serve: Serve warm with ice cream, frozen yogurt or fresh whipped cream. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.
TipsWhen measuring flour, use dip and sweep method. For Gluten-Free Option: Substitute ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 grams) Cup4Cup (C4C) Gluten-Free Flour, available at Williams-Sonoma, or your favorite gluten-free flour blend measured cup for cup or by grams in place of the all-purpose wheat flour called for in the recipe. Also, be sure to substitute the oats with certified gluten-free oats such as Bob's Red Mill®. Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com