June has only just begun and temperatures here in Central Florida have already been averaging in the mid-90’s (heat index well over 100°) since early May. I enjoy the heat but it makes going outside with the kids for walks or playtime practically impossible unless it is really early or late (but late in the swamp only trades heat for mosquitoes). Seeing as outside play is limited this time of year, other activities need to fill the void. Baking happens to be one of our favorite go-to activities year round but even more so in the hot and rainy summer months.
With the A/C already working overtime to keep us cool I want a recipe that is not too extensive but also screams summer for the days we stay cooped up indoors. Along with cobblers and pies, one of the quintessential desserts served in the summer is a crisp. A crisp is quick, easy, and makes the most out of in season fresh fruit. Sweet cherries are a favorite of mine and happen to currently be in season, making them easily accessible at supermarkets. If you happen to stumble across this recipe when sweet cherries are not in season, you can easily use frozen sweet cherries with the added bonus that they will already be pitted for you.
Although I love sweet cherries on their own, I prefer a balance of tart and sweet flavors in a crisp. For example, when I make apple crisp, I always use a blend of sweet and tart apples. I chose to replicate the same process by using tart dried cherries in addition to fresh sweet cherries. Before burying the cherries under a blend of oats and almonds I add a touch of cinnamon and vanilla to further enhance the flavor.
I prefer to serve this dessert warm and with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt (or ice cream), however it is just as enjoyable at room temperature or after a quick warm up in the microwave. I mean, what is not to love about a simple recipe that takes fresh in season fruit, tosses it together with some pantry staples, and bakes into a summertime stunner beckoning for a scoop of ice cream!
Note: To keep this dessert super simple, use frozen pitted cherries if you do not want to pit them yourself. If you elect to use fresh cherries (recommended) and you do not own a cherry pitter, you can pit the cherries with a straw or pastry tip. Simply insert the straw or pastry tip into the stem end of the cherry and push it through until the pit pops out on its on. This recipe yields one 8 x 8 inch baking dish of crisp. You can easily double the recipe ingredients and bake the crisp in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish to accommodate larger families/crowds.
Easy Cherry-Almond Crisp
- ½ cup dried Tart Cherries
- ½ cup Boiling Water
- 1 pound fresh (or frozen) Sweet Cherries; pitted
- 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 3.4 oz. (¾ cup) All-Purpose Flour
- ¾ cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
- ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Sliced Almonds
- ½ tsp. Salt
- 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
- ¼ tsp. Almond Extract
- Combine dried cherries and boiling water in a small bowl (or pan you boiled the water in); cover and let stand 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl combine the dried cherries (including the soaking liquid), pitted sweet cherries, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon; stir well. Let stand for 15 minutes.
- Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until thick and bubbly.
- Meanwhile, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, almonds, and salt in a medium bowl; stir well. Combine butter and almond extract in a small bowl. Drizzle butter mixture over oat mixture, stirring until moist clumps form.
- Remove cherry mixture from oven and sprinkle evenly with streusel topping (you may have extra topping). Bake an additional 20 minutes or until streusel is golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm on its own or with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt/ice cream.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017
Stone fruits are one of summer’s best seasonal produce options. When I spotted some fresh Georgia Peaches on sale along with a red variety of plumcots, I had to bring them both home (plus a few plums that happened to hop on in). Unfortunately, these tasty gems go from remarkable to rotten extremely quick, like overnight quick. I probably should mention that it didn’t help matters that one of my cats decided to taste test one, bruising it pretty good. Of course once one peach gets bruised any near it also get bruised and soft.
Upon first glance, the fruit looked like it deserved a trip to the trash. However, the great thing about stone fruits are they can easily be salvaged. Crisps are a simple, rustic way to save any stone fruits that seem past their prime. My golden rule is if the fruit still smells sweet and you don’t see any mold it can be thrown in a crisp. A crisp is a simple way to showcase the abundance of summer’s stone fruits. All you need is a small baking dish, the fruit, and a few other ingredients that are typical pantry staples. No extravagant shopping trips necessary.
The stone fruits used in this crisp are peaches, plums, and plumcots. I specifically used black plums and red plumcots but you are welcome to use whatever combination you have on hand. I prefer this combination as it provides a mixture of tart and sweet fruits that complement one another. The goal is to add a hint of sweetness from the peaches but keep the flavor remaining tart overall so that it does not become too sweet when paired with the ice cream. The addition of cinnamon and nutmeg warms up the flavor of the stone fruits while the crispy oat topping provides a crunchy textural contrast to the soft fruit base.
I find this crisp to be the perfect end to any summertime meal. This year it will be served at our Independence Day BBQ. It is best served warm with some low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Enjoy & Happy 4th of July to America!!!!!!!
- If you are preparing the crisp ahead of time and would like to serve it warm to guests, you can place it in single serving bowls then microwave each bowl for approximately 30 seconds. If you would like to heat up the entire crisp at once you can place it in a 350° oven for approximately 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired degree of warmth.
- This crisp yields about 6 servings, however it can easily be doubled. When doubling the recipe make sure you use a 13 x 9 inch baking pan to accommodate the larger amount of ingredients.
- The nutritional information is based upon a serving that includes ½ cup of crisp and 1/3 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream.
Summer Stone Fruit Crisp
Fruit Base Ingredients:
- 2 ¼ cups Sliced Peaches
- 1 cup Sliced Plums
- 1 cup Sliced Plumcots
- 3/8 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
Oat Topping Ingredients:
- ½ cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
- ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
- 1.7 ounces All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
- 2 cups Low-Fat Vanilla Ice Cream
- Combine all of the fruit base ingredients in a large bowl. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Grease an 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon the fruit mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
- Meanwhile, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle mixture with the butter. Stir mixture with a fork until crumbly.
- Once the fruit base has finished baking, sprinkle the oat mixture over the baked fruit. Continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.
(½ cup crisp & 1/3 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream)
Weight Watchers: 14 Smart Points, 8 Points Plus, or 6 Traditional Points
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016
Cherries…Apples…Crisp… Some of my favorite words in the baking world and what’s not to love. The crisp and sweetness of apples, the tartness of cherries and the crunch of the topping all combined into heartwarming goodness. Something about traditional Apple Crisp speaks to me as a Fall/Winter baked good and cherries have always been irresistible to me since I was a kid, so I thought why not combine the two. It would create a great melody of flavors and rich colors for the eye. Little did I know, the flavors could be tart in one bite and too sweet in another and the crisp topping becomes soggy. Hmmm…how to fix such a culinary disaster. Clearly taking a traditional Apple Crisp formula wouldn’t be the trick. While contemplating how to go about things, it certainly didn’t help that my cats would not stay off the kitchen counter. Last thing you need is little kitty hairs in dessert. Not the way to end a meal lol. Once I gave them treats and sent them out of the kitchen it was back to the drawing board.
The million dollar question of the day was how to achieve the right balance of flavors, with proper texture of the fruit and crisp topping. After coring, peeling, and chopping what felt like 30 pounds of apples I was ready to go. Did I mention how much I despise preparing apples for baking. I mean I really really really would love to find some alternate way to do such. That should be the focus of science research. I mean, we need apples in our diets which would be proper motive right… right. Well enough of my whining as most likely you all know exactly what I’m talking about having at some point experienced the pain of baking with apples so I don’t need to explain. Anyway…so I have my apples all chopped and ready and I did this so that once I get the cherries cooked down in some sugar and a little bit of water, they will be ready to be thrown in the pot. By cooking the apples for a few minutes with the cherries, it allows their excess juice to excrete, which prevents a runny mess later, allows the flavors of the cherries and apples to meld more uniformly, promotes a more even bake and last but certainly not least, a shorter cooking time. Amazing how such a simple step can save so much time and make all the difference in a product, but it certainly does. With that said be sure not to skip that step in the formula below. As the apples and cherries cook down, be sure to mix well so you get an even distribution of the red color. Not only is it your natural food color but also looks striking when plating.
Some quick notes before you delve into baking…If you don’t desire a rich cherry flavor and wish to taste more of the apple, you can omit the dried cherries. When picking the apples, a balance of sweet and tart varieties is best for this formula. Sweet helps tone down the tartness of the cherries, however a few tart apples compliments the already tart factor of the cherries. Using equal amounts of a sweet apple, such as Braeburn or Golden Delicious, along with a tart apple such as the Granny Smith will produce the finest results. The crisp is best served warm and if your anything like me, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is a perfect pairing or a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Although I’m lactose intolerance I can’t help mixing that melting scoop of ice cream with a heaping spoon of cherry apple crisp…
Cherry Apple Crisp
¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
½ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
½ cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
12 tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into ½ in. pieces; chilled
¾ cup Old-Fashioned Oats
1 # Cherries, fresh or frozen
1 ¼ cups Granulated Sugar
¼ cup Water
2 ½ # Granny Smith Apples; cut into ½ in. pieces
2 ½ # Braeburn Apples; cut into ½ in. pieces
1 cup Dried Sweetened Cherries
3 tbsp. Minute Tapioca
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 400°. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugars, cinnamon, and butter until mixture has the texture of coarse crumbs.
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in oats. Using fingers, pinch the topping mixture with your fingers to create peanut-sized clumps.
- Refrigerate topping while preparing the filling.
- Place the fresh or frozen cherries, ¾ cup sugar, and water in a dutch oven and heat over medium-high. Cook until the cherries are softened completely and mixture has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Scrape cherries into a bowl and set aside. Place apples, remaining ½ cup sugar, and dried cherries into the dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat until the apples begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes.
- Off heat, add the cooked cherries back into the dutch oven along with the tapioca. Mix thoroughly then pour filling into a 13×9 in. baking dish. Smooth the filling’s surface evenly with a spatula. Remove topping from the refrigerator.
- Scatter topping evenly over filling and bake until juices are bubbling and topping is deep golden brown in color, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool. Serve while still warm.
Special Thanks to: Peter Mendoros (photography) & Diane Unger
All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012