In February, we’re turning to the kitchen to find out what special treats we can bake our sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. This year, my thoughts turn to Cherry Crisp, cherries nestled in a butter-crunch crust, one of Tom’s favorites.
Tom first made this dessert for me from the well-worn recipe card typed by his mother when he went to college. It’s further worn now, including a brown splotch, reminiscent of cherry juice right in the middle of the word “cherries”.
I’ve made some changes to the recipe…as I almost always do. There’s nothing wrong with making a great recipe better! I’ve even gone as far as to exchange apricots for cherries, which Tom thinks he might like even better. But given Valentine’s Day is upon us, I’m going for the deep red color of the cherries.
This is an easy recipe. And it’s kid friendly too. Stirring the crust ingredients alongside a grown up and patting it a pan is sure to delight the youngest of kitchen helpers. It can also be an, “I made it myself,” declaration from an older child, receiving instruction from an adult. I wonder how many times this recipe has been made under my rocking chair, baby-in-my-lap supervision?
Can you use canned cherry pie filling? Y–e–s. Did you notice my hesitant answer? With canned filling, you will sacrifice flavor. You will also consume more sugar, preservatives, color and filling than you do actual cherries. However, canned filling is quick and easier to use for the young or inexperienced baker. And it’s a solution to when you want something somewhat homemade but are in the midst of a major project…like moving, house painting or…you-fill-in-the-blank.
If you have fresh or home canned cherries, lucky you! Frozen, and then defrosted, cherries also work well. If you can only find canned sweet cherries, reduce your sugar by half and give it a go.
Try this recipe, and you’ll find another way to bake, “I love you.”
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 rounded Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 quart pie cherries (or two 15 oz cans), drain and reserve juice
- ¾ cup cherry juice
- 1/8 tsp almond extract
Stir sugar and cornstarch together into a saucepan. Stir in cherry juice. Continue stirring while cooking over medium high heat until thick. Remove from heat. Add cherries and almond extract.
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup oats, quick or rolled
- ½ tsp soda
- ½ cup butter, melted
- Combine dry ingredients. Stir in butter.
Using half of the crust mixture, press into a greased 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Top the crust with the filling. Then top the filling with the remaining crust mixture and pat down.
Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.