Make a summery cherry crisp any time of year — this easy dessert uses frozen sweet cherries and has a crunchy cornmeal-almond topping (with gluten-free option).
Put some fruit in a baking dish and add a topping. Boom — you have the essence of summer in a basic dessert, known variously as a cobbler, crisp or crumble. But what about those times when you didn’t make it to the market or when fresh fruit isn’t in season? That’s when this easy-to-make cherry crisp comes in.
Fruit crisps are so much quicker to make than a pie, but satisfy on the same level. You get some crust in the form of a crumbly-crisp topping, and warm, sweet fruit. And they’re perfect served with ice cream (of course).
It’s even more convenient to use frozen fruit to make this cherry crisp — there’s no need to pit them, plus they’re not as expensive as fresh in-season cherries can be.
Tips for making the best cherry crisp:
- You can make and assemble the crisp 2 or 3 hours ahead of time. Keep it refrigerated until ready to bake.
- Cherry crisp keeps well for a day or two. Serve it cold or briefly warmed in a microwave.
- It’s almost essential to serve warm cherry crisp with vanilla ice cream, but good, thick plain yogurt is very nice too, especially for breakfast 🙂
- Thaw frozen cherries at room temperature for about 25 minutes in a large colander set over a bowl (or in the sink). It’s okay if some of the fruit is still partially frozen or very cold. If you’re planning ahead, you can also defrost frozen cherries in a bowl in the refrigerator (5 or 6 hours), then drain the cherries in a colander.
- It’s very tempting to dig in to cherry crisp while it’s hot and bubbling, but it’s even better to let it cool 15-20 minutes before serving. That way the juices and topping can settle.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute finely ground blanched almond flour for the all-purpose flour, or your favorite gluten-free blend.
cherry crisp with cornmeal and almonds
Yield 6 - 8 servings
To make individual crisps, divide the filling and topping among ramekins and place on a baking sheet in the oven. They might take less time to bake, so start checking after 20-25 minutes.
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2 pounds frozen sweet cherries, thawed (about 5 cups fruit)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack positioned in the center.
- Make the topping: whisk the cornmeal, flour, both sugars and salt in a bowl. Toss in the butter. Use your fingers, a fork or pastry blender to blend the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like damp, clumpy sand. Add the almonds and mix briefly to combine.
- Put the cherries in another large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, almond extract, sugar and cornstarch and stir together.
- Put the cherry mixture in a large (11-inch) round baking dish. Distribute the topping over the cherries to cover.
- Bake the crisp 35 - 40 minutes. The top should be golden and the juices bubbling.
- Cool 15 - 20 minutes before serving.