The horrendous Texas drought has made the peaches extra-sweet this year. Since it is one of our few outstanding local fruits (the other being grapefruit), I have been in the peach zone for about 2 months now. The item on today’s menu is a peach-cherry crisp or what the heck do you do with cherries not good enough to eat as is, but not bad enough to warrant a trip to the compost pile. So this crisp emerged as the compromise dessert of the week, relying on no one source and evolving as it went along.
The results were absolutely delicious, if less than perfectly esthetic. I substituted some almond meal for flour and used a mix of brown and white sugar. Once I had added in the almond meal, I decided to add some almond extract to the filling. I had read somewhere that the pectin from apple helps bind fruit, making it less soupy, so I grated in an apple. Then I added some honey to the filling to make it just a tad sweeter. The results: the apple did not appear to do the binding trick, so maybe one needs more apples or more flour. But the crust was marvelous and the filling lovely. Its what’s for dinner.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill, but you can grind some blanched almonds in a food processor)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces.
4 1/2 cups of ripe peaches, peeled and sliced thin
1 1/2 cups of sweet cherries, pitted and sliced or chopped fine (I did this in the food processor)
1 apple, cored and grated (you dont have to peel it)
1/3 cup flour (you may want to go up to 1/2 cup, if the peaches are watery)
2/3 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Zest from 1 lime or lemon
2 tbs. honey or peach or raspberry jam
1 tsp. almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Make the crust. In a food processor (or by hand), mix together all the dry ingredients for the topping. You could add pie spices here, but I like to let the fruit speak for itself.
3. Pulse in the butter, so that the topping resembles coarse cornmeal. Set aside.
4. Make the filling. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl and transfer to a deep 9″ pie plate or 8×8″ square pan.
5. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.
6. Cover with foil.
7. Bake covered for about 15 min and then uncovered for 30-5 min or until the top turns brown and crisp.
8. Serve in bowls and eat while still warm.