Summer has arrived in full force this weekend in DC. The pools are busy with all of the kids who just got out of school, and the temperatures have been in the 90s. For our second anniversary, my parents gave us a gift card to Whole Foods with the instruction to make something special (they know their daughter’s hobbies well). We went to Whole Foods yesterday, and while I had a firm plan for dinner, I knew I wanted to make dessert, but didn’t know what. Feeling the summer spirit, we quickly decided on a fruit crumble with vanilla ice cream. I asked Craig to choose the fruit, and he chose these lovely-looking sweet cherries.
As for a recipe, my favorite crumble recipe is this recipe for strawberry-rhubarb. I recently made the original dish for a wedding where the bride asked all who wanted to to make a pie for the reception (which was an excellent idea, by the way – much tastier than cake), so the foolproof nature of this recipe was on the top of my mind. For last night, I wanted to make the crumble in individual ramekins with my cherries, so I adapted it quite a bit. I am happy to say this was a success, and I am now thinking about all of the other summer fruits that would be good this way. Peaches are very high on the list – I can’t wait until they make their way up here from Georgia and South Carolina…
Individual Sweet Cherry Crumbles (makes 4)
- pitted and halved sweet cherries, to make 4 cups (1 quart). This took about half of the semi-standard-sized grocery store bag of cherries for me.
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (this is the same as 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. if that’s easier)
- 6 Tbsp. old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (dark or light – I only had light, but I think dark would be really good in this)
- 3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into 6 chunks, plus more for greasing the ramekins
- Butter the insides of 4 individual ramekins and place them on a baking sheet for ease of handling. Preheat the oven to 375.
- Combine the prepared cherries, sugar (you can add more or less sugar depending on the sweetness of the cherries), and lime juice in a small bowl. Toss to coat the cherries. Add the cornstarch and stir well, so that the cornstarch is mostly dissolved in the juices from the cherries.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, and brown sugar. Add the butter and cut it into the flour mixture. You can use a pastry blender, but Emeril suggests just using your hands, and I have found this to be the fastest and easiest. The topping is ready when the mixture is in fairly uniform pea-sized crumbles and there is very little loose flour.
- Distribute the cherries evenly between the 4 ramekins. Top each ramekin with the crumble mixture, leaving a few small spots of cherry sticking out so that they will caramelize (you may have a little leftover topping). Transfer the baking sheet with the ramekins to the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let cool (at least slightly!), and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Note: If you don’t have individual ramekins, you can certainly bake this in one pan, but I am not 100% sure what size would work well. I suspect that an 8″ square pan might be the ideal size.