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).
Let’s talk fruit crisps: 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 summer 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
- 1/2 cup (80 g) cornmeal
- 1/2 cup (80 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (90 g) butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup (120 g) sliced almonds
- 2 pounds (900 g) frozen sweet cherries, thawed (about 5 cups fruit)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1/2 cup (120 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (32 g) 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.