Last weekend Lisa from RunWiki and her family came over to my house for a “so long, farewell” dinner before their move back to Southern California. I was so excited to host them but nervous about cooking because, by my own admission, my cooking is a bit hit-or-miss, and generally more miss. I’m fine making a salad or a side for a potluck, but ask me to make a complete meal and I’m at a loss. I have this recurring nightmare of being handed an assortment of ingredients like they do on the TV show “Chopped” and told to make a meal from them. Not happening. Not even if Gordon bleep Ramsey were yelling at me. I’d chuck the food and run…
Anyway, I decided to dodge the bullet by having my husband cook (AKA barbecue) so I just had to prep the food: marinate flank steak – check, make Scott Jurek’s lentil-mushroom burgers – check (although I did forget to mash the lentils…see what I mean?!) which left me to focus on something I seem better at: dessert. Both eating and baking, that is.
I had just picked up my CSA box (if you don’t do CSA I highly recommend it; great way to eat local and very inexpensive. Also, if you like surprises, it’s always fun to open the box each week) and it happened to contain 2 pints of tart cherries! I posted not long ago about anti-inflammatory foods and, while tart cherries weren’t on the list for some reason, they’re known among athletes for their anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to get the tart ones (a taste-test will confirm for you!) not the sweet ones such as the Bing variety.
My CSA, Great Country Farms, (where, by the way, you can pick tart cherries right now!) always e-mails great recipes and they just happened to send me one for tart cherry pie. I don’t know about you but I find making pie crust a total fag. And I really don’t like to buy it. So I don’t do either. Instead, I make a much easier “crumble” topping that’s very popular in England. This is the dessert I made for Lisa and her family. I like to serve it warm, a la mode:
So, without further ado, here’s the recipe for tart cherry crumble, a combination of Great Country Farms’ recipe and a cookbook my mum gave me:
Tart Cherry Crumble
- 4 cups fresh tart cherries
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
For the crumble top:
- 6 oz flour
- 6 oz sugar
- 3 oz butter, softened slightly and cut up
Place cherries in medium saucepan and place over heat. Cover. After the cherries lose considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Add the almond extract. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch.
While cherries are cooling, place flour, sugar, and butter in stand mixer bowl and mix until well-combined. (This takes a while – just let the mixer do its thing.) If you don’t have a stand mixer, put flour and butter in a bowl, rub butter into flour, and then add sugar.
Place cherries in a pie dish and sprinkle crumble mix on top. Do not flatten. Place in 375 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes, or until crumble starts to brown.
Do you love to entertain but, like, me, have trouble with the cooking?
Do you belong to a CSA?
What’s your favorite summer dessert?