Last month I was faced with the challenge of turning tart cherries into a gluten-free tart cherry crisp. Well, my family wanted pie, but making gluten-free cherry pie is not worth the trouble (and it’s a lot of trouble) and never tastes as good as you want it to taste. Crisps, on the other hand, are fantastic and the perfect way to enjoy a “pie-like” dessert when you’re gluten-free.
Before I tell you about my family’s adventure picking tart cherries and whipping up this tart-yet-sweet dessert, I want to mention that I’ve partnered with Honeyville on this post. Honeyville is the company that brings us the best almond flour on the market (yep, it’s the only one I keep in my house) and it’s the same company that sells huge canisters of freeze-dried fruits, which I’m totally obsessed with. (BTW, the freeze dried fruit is 20% off through August 2017! – get some here.) I also want to remind you that this post contains affiliate links. Please view my disclosures here.
As I mentioned, last month my family went on a cherry picking adventure. Well, it didn’t start out that way.
We were in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. The mountain city is just a few miles from Aspen (the famous posh ski resort town) and is home to Hanging Lake (one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on). Our family enjoyed it all – from soaking in the natural hot springs to whitewater rafting on the Colorado River.
The other thing about Glenwood Springs is it’s about a 3-4 hour drive to Moab in Utah. We wanted to see Arches National Park, so a day trip from Glenwood Springs to Moab is totally doable.
As we set out for our day trip to Moab, we realized we were driving through the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, Palisades, Colorado specifically, which is famous for its peach and fruit orchards, as well as wineries. Yes, landlocked Colorado has wineries!!
We stopped at a gas station in Palisades and my husband engaged the cashier in a conversation about the orchards in the area. She told him about several orchards that allow you to pick fruit off the trees and vines. We decided we needed to stop and do this fun activity. If we didn’t, I think my kids would have hated us forever!!
So we stopped at the Greenbarn Fruit Co’s U-Pick Orchard.
We had the BEST time at Green Barn! We picked tart pie cherries and apricots. The peaches, while near ripe, weren’t quite ready for the picking (darn!). We were about three weeks too early.
But we picked lots of tart cherries. Lots. But I totally underestimated how many I’d need for my tart cherry crisp, so we actually didn’t pick enough believe it or not!
My kids asked – err, begged – me to make a cherry pie. I told them how hard it was to make gluten-free pie crust. I convinced them that I could make a tart cherry crisp and it would be just as delicious. They were happy with this option (although I think they all had a hankering for cherry pie!).
We kept the cherries in our cooler while we visited Moab, and then stored them in our vacation rental fridge until we went home. The cherries kept nicely.
When we got home to Denver, I pitted the cherries (a huge undertaking, leave yourself plenty of time to pit them and wear an apron while you do it, trust me!) and came up with this recipe. You can use any all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, like Grandpa’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend, which you can get on the Honeyville website, or whatever you like to use is a-okay too. You’ll also want to use certified gluten-free oats (not just regular oats) in order to keep this tart cherry crisp totally gluten-free. (Read more about gluten-free oats.)
So as I mentioned, I didn’t have enough tart cherries to fill my baking dish (needs about six cups of cherries). Not to worry, I just used bing cherries to fill in and I must admit, the sweet and tart balance was just right. Look at this Tart Cherry Crisp oozing – no, bursting – with cherries!!
The next time you get your hands on some fresh tart cherries, make this gluten-free tart cherry crisp and enjoy the fruits of your labor – literally!
Thank you again to Honeyville for sponsoring this post and allowing me to share this beautiful, delicious and flavorful fruit dessert recipe with my readers.
- 3 cups fresh or frozen tart cherries, pitted
- 3 cups fresh or frozen bing cherries, pitted
- 1/4 cup white sugar (or monk fruit sweetener)
- 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- Zest from one lemon
- 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (such as Grandpa's Flour blend or Bob's 1-to-1 All Purpose GF flour blend)
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar (or monk fruit sweetener)
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 5 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup certified gluten-free rolled oats
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Grease a 9" square deep baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients (cherries, sugar, lemon juice and zest). Transfer filling mixture to baking dish. Set aside.
In your food processor, pulse together flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well combined, about 6 pulses.
Add butter and pulse 15-20 times until mixture is crumbly but coarse.
Add oats and pulse 6 more times until mixture clumps together. Do not pulverize the oats.
Add topping over the filling mixture in an even layer.
Place baking dish on a baking sheet and then in your oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes until mixture is slightly browned and the cherries are bubbly.
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