Every year, around this time, I’m reminded of how much I adore cherries. I forget about them during the long winter, those days when fresh fruit is scarce. Then, as soon as I see them in the grocery store, I snatch them up, not giving a second thought about the $10 price tag.
I love that not only are they tasty, they are absolutely beautiful. There’s lots of pretty fruit out there, but I think cherries win the beauty contest, hands down. All those shades of red, their shiny skin, their ombre interior.
Today was the first time this season I seen them in the grocery store, so I grabbed a bag and brought them home to make this crumble. I’m an absolute crumble/crisp fiend, I think it’s the perfect way to bake with fruit. The flavor of the fruit it’s self really shines through, and the crunchy topping only adds to the deliciousness.
This recipe is loosely based on a recipe for a rhubarb, oat & pecan crumble from one of my favorite cookbooks, Rustic Fruit Desserts. While that recipe sounded great, I knew I wanted to bake with cherries and almonds, so I used it as an outline for what you see here. It turned out wonderfully, cherry and almond go so perfectly together. I used dark brown sugar in the cherries, to add a richer flavor, along with some almond extract.
This is best served fresh out of the oven, topped with vanilla bean ice cream. Let the ice cream melt into the crumble a little bit, it adds a creaminess that makes it taste even better.
Cherry Almond Crumble
adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (more or less, depending on your taste)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 8x8 baking dish (or 3 smaller dishes, like I used here)
To make the crumble, mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, almonds and salt together in a bowl. Stir in the butter, then press the mixture together in your hands to form clumps.
To make the cherry filling, mix together the cherries, brown sugar, almond extract and cornstarch.
Transfer the cherry mixture into the prepared pan and scatter the crumble topping over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.