So, first it was Katie. She had to go and jump-start my fascination with cherry pie. Then, a few weeks later, Deb over at Smitten Kitchen tried her hand at it and that was the end of me. That afternoon, I was off to the store to get some cherries for baking only. I had to buy a bag of cherries with a specific purpose in mind, otherwise, I will eat every.last.one and given myself a major stomachache. I have been known to sit with a giant bowl and eat them all until they are gone (at $3.99 a pound, we're talking about a serious investment too!).
Now, I'm talking about sweet bing cherries, not tart cherries, which I've actually never tried. Even though I love cherries, I've never made any cherry desserts - always ate them raw. So, after reading about everyone else's cherry exploits, I took the plunge. And....they were unbelievably delicious. Seriously, so good. You have to try them before cherry season is over - we're at the tail-end in my neck of the woods. This recipe is also ridiculously easy if you can believe that.
Cherry Crumble Tartlets
(the filling for this recipe was inspired by Deb's pie filling)
Prepared pie dough (now, you can go ahead and use your homemade dough, but for a weeknight or in a pinch, the prepared kind is just fine)
1-2 lbs of fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half (amount depends on how many tarts you are making)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
Dash of almond extract
(this was extremely haphazard, feel free to add nuts or whatever you like - as long as it sticks together and becomes crumb-like, it will be fine :)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
~1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup oats
Pinch of salt
1. Stir together cherries, cornstarch, lemon, extract and sugar until will mixed. Put to the side.
2. Roll out dough. Cut rough circles of dough that will fit your tart pans. I used a mixture of 4.5-inch tart pans and a few larger ramekins. Line bottoms of pans/ramekins with dough. If using tart pans, use a rolling pin to remove excess dough.
3. Prepare crumble topping - mix all ingredients together. Its best to use your hands to make sure little crumbs are formed. I usually just stir it up and then use my fingers to mash the butter into the dry ingredients. Sounds good huh? :)
4. Add cherry mixture to pans. Make sure to leave excess juice in the bowl - no need to add that to the pans. Top with crumble.
5. Bake at 350-400 degrees or so until mixture is bubbling and crumble topping is starting to brown. I think mine were done in about 20 minutes - the timing will depend on your containers so just watch them.
6. Awesome served with a scoop of ice cream!