I love my garden. Nothing is more satisfying to me than going outside, harvesting a vegetable or fruit, and then using it in my kitchen. I like to plant tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, rhubarb, and herbs, and I delight in being able to eat things that I planted. However, the previous owner’s of this house planted a sour cherry tree, a peach tree, and concord grapes, all of which are at a fruit bearing stage. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to be able to pick fruit off a tree and make it into a dessert that I get to share with friends and family.
Sour cherries and concord grapes are not the kinds of fruit that you eat out of hand; they require cooking to make them enjoyable to eat. Sour cherries are particularly mouth-puckering; I chose to pair them with an equal amount of sweet cherries and some apples to balance their sour tartness.
The crisp topping is my standard for any crisp I make; be it apple, berry or strawberry rhubarb. I switched my usual pecan and walnut blend for almonds in this crisp; cherries and almonds go together exceptionally well and I wanted the nuts to mirror the extract that I used in the filling.
Do allow this to cool before serving or else the filling will be runny. You can reheat individual portions or the whole pie in a low oven before serving if you prefer your crisp warm. I do; it helps to melt the vanilla ice cream I scoop on top!
3 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices
1 cup pitted sour cherries
1 cup sweet dark cherries
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sliced apples into a 7 by 11 inch baking dish.Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugars, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using your hands, two knives or a pastry blender, cut in the butter into the flour sugar mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats and almonds. Drizzle over the heavy cream and mix until the mixture is lightly moistened. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cherries, lemon juice. Mash the cherries to release their juices and stir in the tapioca starch. Bring to a boil until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pour over the apples in the baking dish. Crumble over the topping and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely and enjoy with ice cream.