Whole Grain Cherry Almond Crisp


Whole Grain Recipes | Whole-Grain Cherry Crisp | Megan Gordon

Early summer months in Seattle are a practice in patience. I moved here from California well over a year ago, and I remember being baffled and disappointed during that first spring and most of the early summer. I was so used to having strawberries in April, cherries in May, and stone fruits in June. When I lived in the Bay Area, I’d take apricots and plums to work and delight at the sight of summer berries by Mother’s Day. In Seattle, things are delayed by at least a month –and often longer—but when the moment strikes, it really strikes. And that moment is cherry season in June.

While the farmers’ markets or neighborhood grocery stores are an obvious choice for picking up a bag of summer cherries, my favorite spots are the roadside stands. Many of our friends love to go on day hikes and, lucky for all of us, many of the smaller roads heading out of town are dotted with little cherry stands — $2 per pint. We usually stock up with big plans to make an over-the-top summer dessert. Instead, we usually end up eating half of the cherries on the warm drive home, windows down and all. At that moment, you know it’s truly summer.

This dessert was conceived after one of those recent drives. I’d bought more cherries than usual and wanted to make a rustic fruit dessert that was a touch messy and simple and really showcased the fruit itself. I wanted it to be all about June in Seattle, all about cherry season, all about a California girl settling into a new region up North. And here we have it: a simple cherry crisp with a delicious nutty streusel topping.

In personality, this dessert is a little-bit crisp, little-bit cobbler. Plump summer cherries are dressed up with just a little lemon juice and a sprinkling of natural sugar and cloaked in a warmly-spiced whole-grain almond topping. As for types of cherries, Bing or Rainer are most common here and I’ve made this crisp using both. Selecting the right cherries is really more personal preference than anything – on most days, I gravitate towards the rich color of Bing cherries more than any other. Not a fan of cherries at all? You can use this recipe as a template for any summer fruit you love – the topping would be sensational with strawberries and rhubarb or late summer peaches.

While this crisp makes a wonderful summer dessert with a generous spoonful of whipped cream (or a little vanilla ice cream), it’s also quite comfortable at the breakfast table with a strong cup of coffee or tea. You decide. When it’s up to me, I have it both ways.

  Whole Grain Recipes | Whole-Grain Cherry Crisp | Megan Gordon

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