I was initially excited for this week’s Baked Sunday Morning challenge, cherry almond crisp. I tend to be a fan of baked fruit desserts, and am suffering from a bout of insomnia, which oddly cherries may be able to help (there are some dubious results from a study of seven patients online). While I think this is a fitting dessert to celebrate President’s Day, as there is the famous story about Washington cutting down his father’s cherry tree, I really questioned the seasonality of this dessert. The recipe makes it seem like fresh cherries are required, but they are pretty impossible to find in February. Directions for using frozen cherries are located on the page before the recipe begins, on the narrative page, which in my sleep-deprived state I completely missed even though, yes it is in bold type. After thinking about it, I thought about sitting this one out until fresh cherries were available. A crisp showcases the fruit, and I wasn’t into using frozen fruit. I even went so far to make the orange almond ricotta cheesecake from Baked Elements for my going rouge entry. Then my husband came back with a giant bag of frozen cherries from Cosco, so I really had no excuse.
The really unique part of this recipe is the inclusion of cereal in the crisp topping. I used Cocoa Puffs, as chocolate is always a plus. Even though I came into Baked Sunday Mornings thinking I would never change a recipe, I really wanted to try them in their true form, I only added half of the almond extract (1 & 1/2 tsp) as a full tablespoon seemed really intense. I am glad I cut back on the almond extract as the finished product tasted like almonds without being overwhelming. I also noticed one of my fellow BSM bakers said they added 1/4 cup of sugar to the cherries and I too thought only 2 teaspoons of sugar was skimpy. However, I stuck to the 2 teaspoons and it was tart yet sweet. Just the way I like it. My husband thought it needed more crisp, the ratio of topping to fruit for him was a little off. I thought this was ok, but a disappointment compared with the to the pear plumb crisp from Frontiers which is my usual go to recipe. I really want to try this using fresh fruit during cherry season to see how it compares to frozen.
Check out what my fellow bakers thought here.
Recipe from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito