Chai Cherry Crumble

Chai Cherry Crumble
Fruit crumbles are easy desserts to make all year round because you can use either fresh or frozen fruit as your base. This Chai Cherry Crumble is a spicy twist on a classic fruit crumble, with chai spices in the filling and topping of this comfort food dessert.

Cherries are often …

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Chai Cherry Crumble
Fruit crumbles are easy desserts to make all year round because you can use either fresh or frozen fruit as your base. This Chai Cherry Crumble is a spicy twist on a classic fruit crumble, with chai spices in the filling and topping of this comfort food dessert.

Cherries are often left almost unadorned in pie and crumble fillings. They do have a delicious flavor on their own, of course, but cherries are extremely versatile and they go really well with all kinds of spices. Chai tea blends have no shortage of spices. Since I didn’t want to add a bunch of liquid to my filling – cherries produce plenty of natural juice on their own in the oven – I simply used dried spices to add those familiar chai flavors. The filling includes cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice and vanilla. As always, I recommend using fresh spices for the best flavor (not something that has been in the cabinet for a few years already!). Since there is so much spice in the filling, I used a bit less on in the crumble topping, which only includes cinnamon, ginger and vanilla.

I used black, sweet cherries that I picked up in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s. They have a delicious flavor and I like that rich cherry sweetness in this particular dessert. Tart cherries, which are a good choice for a pie, don’t feel as rich in this recipe with all of the chai spices. Whether you’re using fresh or frozen, cherries give off a fair amount of juice in the oven, so I included cornstarch in the filling to thicken up the juices. They will bubble thickly in the oven when the crumble is done, and the filling will thicken up even more as the crumble cools.

The crumble is ready to serve about 20 minutes after baking. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave the next day or two. The spices blend and come together even more after the crumble has been refrigerated. That said, I can’t resist eating at least two servings when this is fresh from the oven. The crumble will serve about 8 – but you’ll get fewer servings if you like yours as big as I do!

Chai Cherry Crumble
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

32 oz cherries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, prepare crumble topping. Whisk together flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon and ginger until well-combined. Stir in melted butter and vanilla extract until mixture is crumbly and resembles moist sand. Set aside.
In a large bowl, prepare the filling. Combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, spices and vanilla extract and stir together with a spatula until everything is evenly mixed.
Pour fruit mixture into a deep 10-inch pie plate. Grab handfuls of crumble mixture and squeeze them in your fist to create large crumbles. Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over fruit.
Bake for 60 minutes, until cherry juice is thickly bubbling around the outer edge of the pan. In the event that the crumble becomes too brown, simply lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the crumble for the last 15 minutes of baking.
Allow crumble to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving to allow juices to thicken. Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the microware before serving.

Serves 8.

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Angostura Cherry Cobblers

Angostura Cherry Cobblers
Cherry cobblers are one of my favorite “comfort food” desserts, and I bake them up on a regular basis. That said, I’m always looking to put a new twist on them to make them memorable and these Angostura Cherry Cobblers are one of my very favorite variations. The cobblers have a jammy cherry …

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Angostura Cherry Cobblers
Cherry cobblers are one of my favorite “comfort food” desserts, and I bake them up on a regular basis. That said, I’m always looking to put a new twist on them to make them memorable and these Angostura Cherry Cobblers are one of my very favorite variations. The cobblers have a jammy cherry filling that is flavored with the potent spices of Angostura bitters, an ingredient used in cocktails all the time, but rarely in baking. It’s a delicious take on this classic and I just can’t get enough!

Bitters are an alcoholic extract that are typically used as a cocktail flavoring. Originally developed as medicines and purported to have many curative effects, they made their way from the pharmacy to the bar when the term “cocktail” came into common use in the beginning of the 19th century, where cocktail was defined as a beverage which used a combination of spirits, sugar, water and bitters. Like vanilla extract, bitters use alcohol to extract the flavors from the botanicals that go into them. They’re typically made with a wide variety of spices, herbs, roots and other ingredients, which come together to form a very intensely flavored extract that is intended to be used only a few dashes at a time. As the name suggests, many bitters have a distinctly bitter note to them, but they can use dozens of ingredients and actually have very complex and layered flavor profiles.

These days, not all cocktails include bitters and, similarly, not all bitters need to be confined to the bar. These individual Angostura Cherry Cobblers are just one of many examples of how bitters can shine in the kitchen because I added a generous dash of Angostura bitters to my cobbler filling!

Angostura is one of the most widely recognized brands of bitters. The secret recipe for the brand’s aromatic was developed around 1820 and has remained unchanged ever since. You’ll pick up notes of allspice or clove and cinnamon in the bitters, along with many other flavors. These warm spices add a lot of depth to cocktails and they also add a lot to the cherries in this cobbler. The cherries are lush, spicy and much more complex than you would expect the cherries in an ordinary cobbler to be. The bitter notes of the bitters don’t overshadow the cherries, so don’t worry about that if you’re not very familiar with bitters!

The cobbler topping is a buttermilk and vanilla biscuit topping that would be delicious with almost any cobbler filling. By keeping the topping simple, the flavors in the filling stand out even more. I baked these as individual cobblers, dividing the cherries and topping equally between four ramekins. I didn’t quite use all the topping because I wanted to see a bit of the cherry bubbling up underneath it, but there is enough to completely cover all four servings. These cobblers are best when served slightly warm from the oven. You can serve them as-is or top them with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Angostura Cherry Cobblers

Angostura Cherry Cobblers
Filling
16-oz cherries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sugar
8 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 tbsp cornstarch

Topping
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
coarse sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 375F. Place four 8-oz ramekins on a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, stir together all filling ingredients.
In a large bowl, prepare the topping. Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add in melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla extract and stir until dough comes together.
Divide cherry mixture evenly into prepared ramekins. Dollop topping (or use your fingers, if you don’t mind getting messy) mixture over the cherries. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until cherry filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown.
Allow cobblers to cool slightly before serving.

Serves 4.

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