There are many things in the world which are mysterious to me. One of the most perplexing to me, albeit not exactly life-changing, has been my brother Bob’s assertion that cherry pie is his favorite dessert.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I adore sweet cherries. But cherry desserts? Not a fan. I have never liked cherry-flavored candies, or anything else with that loathsome almond-y fake-cherry taste. So when I first heard Bob assert his preference for cherry pie, I reached the natural conclusion: most of my brain acknowledged that tastes differ, and to each his own; while the deepest, most primitively judgmental part of me knew that he was simply wrong.
However, the fruit-picking urge is strong in me. When the kids and I recently went to Sherwood Orchards to pick some Lodi apples and Shiro plums, I simply could not resist picking some pie cherries as well. I reasoned that I could always use them for jam. The owner commiserated with me about cherry desserts, but said that fresh cherries made all the difference and she would email me her recipe for Cherry Crisp. I decided to try it. After all, there was a tiny, miniscule possibility that I was in the wrong here.
Yep, very wrong.
Holy cow, but my tune has changed. I have two more quarts of pie cherries in the freezer, and they have become precious beyond gold. The delicious contrast of sour cherry against sweet sauce, with the crisp’s topping adding a crunchy high note, created a veritable harmony of a dessert.
Here is the Sherwood Orchards recipe as given to me:
4 cups pie cherries, pitted
½ cup or more to taste, sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 X 9 X 2” baking dish with butter. Mix cherries with sugar and cornstarch. Dot with butter.
Mix topping ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup chopped hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds or pecans
Rub ingredients thoroughly through fingers until well blended. Pack on top of fruit. Bake in oven for 45 -55 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.
Serve with vanilla ice cream for the most delicious dessert ever.
Bob, I am sorry for ever doubting you.
(As a side note: this applesauce recipe made applesauce a trivial undertaking this time. I just quartered the apples, threw them in a pot, and put the whole thing through the food mill at the end. Crazy simple! Also, plum raspberry jam (no recipe, I just winged it) is a winner, as is this Vanilla Plum Jam.)