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From My Kitchen: Cherry-Cardamom Crisp

Taking inspiration from Jacques Pépin, I developed this tasty combination of Morello cherries, orange zest, and a crunchy cookie topping.

I'm a big fan of fruit crumbles and crisps. They're easy to put together and taste fantastic. Try this one in the fall, when fresh cherries are a distant memory.

I used jarred dark Morello cherries from Trader Joe's market. They have a nice flavor and texture, and hold up to baking better than canned cherries. I was looking for interesting cookies to use for the topping, and settled on a new product at Trader Joe's: orange-cardamom cookies. Any crisp, buttery cookie would work well. Some ideas for variations: nutmeg with pecan sandies; almond extract with almond biscotti; vanilla extract with shortbread.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 jars Morello cherries in light syrup, 24.7 oz. each
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 cup sugar
8 to 10 oz. crisp cookies
Sour cream, crème fraîche, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, optional

Drain the cherries, and reserve 1 cup of the syrup. Place the syrup in a small saucepan over high heat and reduce it to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the cherries, butter, orange zest, cardamom, and sugar. Add the reduced syrup and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a 4- to 5-cup capacity baking dish or gratin dish.

Put the cookies in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Make the crumbs as fine or chunky as you desire. Sprinkle the cookie crumbs over the cherry mixture, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling and topping is nicely browned. Serve warm or at room temperature with one of the suggested accompaniments.



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