When summer comes, it is hard to resist those plump, deep red cherries piled high at the market. But we can eat just so many, right? As delicious as they are, it gets a little tiresome spitting out all those pits! That's when a warm fruit crumble comes into play. Here, fresh, sweet cherries are the star of these individual desserts where the bubbling juicy fruit is covered with a crunchy, buttery brown sugar crumble studded with nuts. Top each crumble with vanilla ice cream for pure perfection.
- Heat oven to 375 F (190 C). Lightly spray four 7- to 8-ounce ramekins or five to six 5- or 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups with baking spray. Alternatively, you can lightly butter the bottoms and sides.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the pitted cherries, water, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir to blend and place the pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat and continue simmering, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Divide cherry mixture among the ramekins.
- In a medium bowl, combine topping ingredients and, using fingers, sprinkle evenly over each filled ramekin.
- Put ramekins in the preheated oven with a baking sheet on the rack below to catch drips. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbly.
The best thing about fresh cherries is how they taste. The worst thing about fresh cherries is that we have to pit them. But there are some tricks to make this tedious job a little easier. There are some good cherry pitters on the market, but if you are not interested in another kitchen gadget not to worry; there are plenty of items you probably have in the house that will do the job just fine. One is a pastry tip (the metal piece that you put on the end of the pastry bag to pipe frosting). Place it tip-side-up on a cutting board and then push the cherry onto it—the pit should pop right out. You can also use a chopstick, pushing it in one end until the pit comes out the other. If the only tool you seem to have is a paperclip, that should work as well; unfold it once (keeping 2 curved ends) and push it inside the cherry, digging around until the pit comes out.
If you don't have the proper dishes for individual crumbles, you can make one large dessert. Spray or butter a 9x13-inch pan and fill with cherry mixture. Then sprinkle the crumble over the entire top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling bubbles and the topping is golden.
A crisp is a similar dessert to a crumble (and the terms are interchangeable at times), but it includes oats in the topping mixture. If you would like, add about 2/3 cup of oats to the topping ingredients. Of course, if you have a surplus of other fresh fruits, you can substitute for the cherries. Blueberries, apricots, plums, and peaches are all wonderful options when making a crumble.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|