Jul 15, 2012

Sweet Cherry Crumbles

One of my favorite summer desserts is a fruit crumble! I make a version of a brown betty in the fall and winter months, and while good, there is just an extra bit of pizzaz when it comes to the summer fruits. No offense apples! You can pick the fruits that look best on that day or just stick to your favorites and the same topping will be perfect on whatever you choose. That’s versatility to the max!

Cherries made their first appearance in the grocery store a few short weeks ago and I was immediately drawn to them! ¬†For some reason, the minute I see cherries it’s almost like a reflex and I say “Bing, Cherry!” in my head. Kind of strange. But, the fact of the matter is that I’m a huge fan but hate to buy a big bag and not finish them all. I could just sit down and go to town on the bag but I’d prefer to split things up between just adding them to my daily fruit bowl and then making something in particular with them. Also, I know that I could just empty some of the cherries into another bag at the store, but I really don’t want to be that person! That could require getting my hands all over them and just thinking about that makes me squirm a little. I’m a bit of a germophobe you might say. But getting back to using up a bag of cherries. When I first saw this recipe, I kind of had the same reaction as to when I first saw the cherries: “Bing!” Of course, just make a crumble out of them! It was easy to put together, not too much fuss and it was the perfect use for my leftover cherries!

Here is what you need:


(Adapted from Jenna Weber on PBS Foods. Serves 2 small cherry crumbles.)

  • 2 cups fresh sweet cherries sliced and pitted
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon cold butter
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoon old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a small baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray two 8oz ramekins with non-stick cooking spray and place on the prepared baking sheet.

The most tedious task in this dessert is slicing and pitting the cherries. If you had a cherry pitter that may make your life a bit more simple. I however do not have such a tool. So I just used a little knife, split the cherry in half around the pit, twisted, separated and then took the pit out. Half and pit enough cherries so that you fill each ramekin to the top with cherries. I put in a few extra for good measure. When you cook these they are going to sink down a little as their juices start to come out. Once each ramekin is full, squeeze a quarter slice of lemon over each ramekin of cherries. Give it a quick mix to make sure the lemon covers all the cherries.

Time for the crumble topping. In a small mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and the butter. I started incorporating the butter with the tongs of a fork but gave up quickly and decided the best tools were my fingers. Just keep mashing everything together until you no longer have big chunks of butter but instead have little bits of butter throughout the mixture.

Sprinkle the topping onto each ramekin of cherries and no need to be skimpy on this part! Keep piling it high and make sure the whole top gets its fair share of topping goodness! It’s what makes a crumble a crumble so without it, you are left with a bowl of warm fruit. Not as exciting in any way! Also, like your cherries, the topping will cook down as the butter melts and crunches up! So think high when pouring on the topping!

You can already see the handiness of putting tinfoil under the ramekins. It catches all the fly aways and makes your clean up a cinch!

Bake the crumbles for about 25-30 minutes. We like our crumbles to get a crisp golden brown, with a bit of a crunch on top. So we baked ours for 25 minutes and then put them under the broiler for just a minute or two.

I told you the whole thing would bake down! The last thing to add is completely optional but a total must in our household: homemade whipped cream. This is always Jor’s job and he just pours heavy whipping cream in a mixing bowl and takes his whisk and gets to work. He can whip it together in just a few minutes so we feel no need to get out the handmixer for such an easy job. Now, we make enough for just two people so if you are making this for a crowd, the hand mixer may actually need to come out of the cabinet and do some of the work for you. Just a dollop on top of each crumble and your dessert is ready to serve!

These crumbles were everything that I love about a crumble! The cherries were the perfect sweetness and they really don’t need anything else except that lemon juice! I’m a huge fan of the oat topping in place of more of dough like topping because it’s just lighter and easier for me to eat after a big meal. Don’t get me wrong, big bites of sugary dough, warm from the oven can be like a little bite of food heaven in your mouth! But, sometimes I feel like putting that on top of a bowl of fresh cherries, for example, kind of takes away from the fruit and your attempt at maybe having something a littles less heavy for dessert. I feel like a fruit crumble is an easy way to sneak dessert into a meal and not feel completely guilty or like you need to roll off your kitchen table chair. And like I said previously, substitute all sorts of fruit in this! A peach and blueberry one would be fantastic or even just a triple berry party with blackberries, blueberries and raspberries! You can also modify the crumble topping and add in some more spices such as a dash of nutmeg and then some walnuts would add an extra crunch to the mix! For now, that’s sweet cherry crumbles…in the shell of a nut!


Leave a comment