Stone fruit seems to announce summer, doesn’t it?
I found myself at the store the other day confronted with piles of fresh apricots and fresh sweet cherries and delightedly began loading my produce bags full, without any clear direction. But never fear, it just took one short car ride’s worth of musings, and I was in the kitchen, chopping apricots , and pitting cherries, and tossing it all into a cast iron skillet to be sprinkled with a crispy crumb topping.
Yup, I was going to make Apricot and Sweet Cherry Crisp.
Crisps are my kind of dessert after all. They are easy, straightforward, unfussy, and can be easily prepped ahead to toss into the oven right before guests arrive (you know, if the world ever returns to normal and we can have guests again…) And I thought to myself as I was chopping apricots (leaving the skin on, because come on… who wants to be bothered peeling) – why don’t I do this more often?
Oh that’s right… because two words: soggy topping.
And because I was extremely fearful of a) wasting all this great produce, and b) putting out a sub-par recipe for you all, I researched how to eliminate the dreaded sog…
So what did I find? You’ve just gotta use cornstarch in the filling.
Fresh fruit, of course, naturally releases its liquid when baked, so having something to bind up the liquid is essential for best texture. Pectin does this (a natural component in fruits that helps jams and jellys set), as well as cornstarch, flour, and gelatin. Now, apricots and cherries have more pectin than some other fruits – blueberries for example – so you *might* be able to get away with a no cornstarch filling, but I wasn’t about to mess around, so into the mix went some cornstarch too!
And guys, it was just perfect.
The fruit filling was a perfect texture – not too gloopy from the cornstarch (my initial fear in adding it), but bound together just enough to have no impact on that glorious crunch of the streusel topping.
And the flavor…. oh yes. The fruit was just barely sweetened with sugar to allow the natural sweet and tart flavors to shine. Which contrasted perfectly with the much sweeter lid of crispy oats and butter. I’m serious… what could be better?
(The only tweak I’d suggest is that I’d recommend making two, because you will undoubtedly need to keep one just for yourself).
Apricot and Sweet Cherry CrispCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
- For the filling
5 cups fresh apricots (about 5 large apricots), chopped
1 heaping cup pitted and halved sweet cherries
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the crisp topping
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons), cubed
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine apricots, cherries, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Mix to combine.
- Pour into cast iron pan (or 9 inch pie plate) and set aside to prepare the topping.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, both sugars, salt. Mix to incorporate. With a pastry blender or your hands, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger lumps.
- Sprinkle topping over the fruit filling.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and bubbly.