Growing up in Atlantic Canada, a Sunday evening wasn’t complete without a bowl (or several) of warm apple crisp. The vanilla ice cream (and my heart) would melt on contact, in full surrender. It was a final hug of the weekend, providing the courage to start another week of school. After an afternoon skating in the backyard till our toes were numb, or sliding from our yard into our neighbour’s on our man-made mountain (a happy by-product of driveway-shoveling... with New Brunswick-style snow storms, an impressive sliding mountain really doesn't take long), there was nothing like warm, gooey apples under buttery oats to take the chill out of our cold, rosy cheeks.
That being said, a quarter-century of Sundays and my eye started wandering away from my apple crisp hugs, and I landed in the arms of another, bolder and more exciting crisp... with sweet cherries... and almonds.
Cherry crisp is like the best of cherry pie meeting the best of apple crisp. The cherries release lots of juice, making a thick, rich, delicious filling. The addition of sliced almonds to the topping is perfection. The toasty, nutty crunch is nothing short of divine with the gorgeous, soft cherries.
So go run around outside (or if you live somewhere more temperate than the North East, go stick your head in the freezer), give your cheeks a good chill, so you can experience the full pleasure of warming them back up again with warm cherry crisp and melting ice cream.
6 c pitted cherries (I use frozen)
1 T cornstarch
2 T sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 c oats
1/3 c sliced almonds
1 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Toss the cherries with cornstarch and sugar in a baking dish (you can use any size, a smaller one will give you a thicker topping - I use 9 x 13 inch).
Mix remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl, and add butter using your fingers to make coarse crumbs (I like to press some of the topping into larger clumps).
Bake for 45 - 55 minutes, until crumble is golden brown, and filling is thick and bubbling over the topping.