Cherry–Almond Crisp

Learn how to make the best cherry crisp with this recipe that tastes like it takes hours, but is surprisingly easy to make. Plus, this cherry crisp, flavored with red wine and warm spices is gluten-free and naturally sweetened with coconut sugar.

Cherry crisp in an oval baking dish set on a marble surface with servings of cherry crisp and scoops of ice cream in white bowls.

Fruit crisps are one of the easiest desserts to make. To make a crisp from scratch, all it takes is cooking down some fresh or frozen fruit, buzzing up a crumb mixture made of oats, spices, butter and sweetness, topping the fruit with the crumb mixture and baking until bubbly and crisp. Voila! Easy as pie, well, easy as crisp I suppose.

This cherry crisp is flavored with red wine, a trio of warm spices, and just a touch of almond for a unique and absolutely delicious fruit dessert. Plus, it’s gluten-free and naturally sweetened with coconut sugar, which adds even more flavor.

Cherry crisp in an oval baking dish set on a marble surface with servings of cherry crisp and scoops of ice cream in white bowls.

To guarantee this dessert is gluten-free (if needed), first things first, make sure your oats are certified gluten-free. Secondly, you’re going to need a gluten-free flour blend, and my favorite go-to is NuLife Market. It works like a dream, seamlessly swapping in for all-purpose flour in just about any recipe. Of course, if you don’t need this recipe to be gluten-free, you can use regular all-purpose flour and it will work perfectly. When it comes to recipes, options are always welcome.

Cherry crisp in an oval baking dish set on a marble surface with servings of cherry crisp and scoops of ice cream in white bowls.

As for making ahead, which is so valuable these days, this cherry crisp can do that too. Really any fruit crisp can be made ahead, that’s the beauty of them, they’re easy to make and freeze well.

Cherry crisp in an oval baking dish set on a marble surface with servings of cherry crisp and scoops of ice cream in white bowls.

If you want to freeze the crisp for a later date, assemble as directed but skip baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for up to 6 months. When ready to eat, heat oven to 400°F and bake frozen crisp for 25–30 minutes, 10–15 minutes longer than directed in the recipe.

Cherry crisp in an oval baking dish set on a marble surface with servings of cherry crisp and scoops of ice cream in white bowls.

Want to prep the crisp a day or two in advance? Store the cooked filling and prepared topping in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, simply assemble as directed in the recipe and bake 5 minutes longer than directed.

Cherry crisp in an oval baking dish set on a marble surface with servings of cherry crisp and scoops of ice cream in white bowls.

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Cherry–Almond Crisp

Cherry crisp in an oval baking dish set on a marble surface with servings of cherry crisp and scoops of ice cream in white bowls.

This is one of the best cherry crisp recipes! Flavored with red wine and warm spices, this crisp is gluten-free, naturally sweetened with coconut sugar, and perfect for making ahead. 

  • Author: Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 50
  • Yield: 6–8 servings

Ingredients

For the topping:

½ cup raw almonds, toasted and skinned

½ cup old fashioned oats (gluten free if needed), toasted

¼ cup coconut sugar

½ cup gluten-free flour mix (such as NuLife Market) or all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

⅛ teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon table salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

For the filling:

2 pounds frozen sweet cherries (or fresh, pitted)

½ red wine

½ teaspoon table salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

⅛  teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Instructions

Heat oven to 400°F with rack set in middle position.

For the topping: 

Arrange almond and oats on a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden in color and fragrant, about 6 minutes. When cool enough to handle skin almonds; transfer to a food processor with oats.

Grind coconut sugar in a spice grinder until finely ground into a powder, 1 minute. Transfer ground sugar to food processor. Add flour, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt; pulse until nuts are finely chopped, about 15 pulses.

Drizzle melted butter, vanilla, and almond extract into processor and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand, about 5 pulses.

For the filling:

If using frozen cherries: Microwave frozen cherries in covered bowl, stirring occasionally until thawed, about 6 minutes. Drain cherries in colander set over a bowl. Measure out and reserve ½ cup drained juice (supplement with water if needed).

If using fresh cherries: skip microwaving and draining. Use ¼ cup water and increase wine to ¾ cup.

Combine reserved juice (or water), wine, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a 12-inch skillet and cook over medium heat until mixture measures ½ cup, 6–10 minutes.

Stir in butter and lemon juice and cook until butter is melted, 1 minute.

Add cherries and coconut sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until cherries begin to soften, 5–8 minutes.

Stir in cornstarch and simmer, stirring constantly, until liquid is thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in vanilla and almond extract. Transfer filling mixture to an 8-inch square baking dish set on a baking sheet.

Pinch topping in ½ inch pieces, with some smaller pieces, and sprinkle over filling. Bake until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown, 15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Transfer to wire rack and cool 20 minutes.

Notes

Sugar alternative:

Want to use regular sugar? Use 3 tablespoons sugar for the topping and 1-2 tablespoons for the filling.

Flour alternative:

Don’t want to make it gluten-free? Simply use all-purpose flour instead of the gluten-free flour blend.

 

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

This post was sponsored by NuLife Market, as always the thoughts, opinions, recipe, photos, and content are all my own.

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