Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cherry Crisp with Buttermilk Ice Cream

Time for a simple American dessert. Fresh cherries baked with an oatmeal almond streusel is one of those pleasures that represents total comfort. But rather than the standard vanilla ice cream, I’ve decided to serve a tangy Buttermilk Ice Cream alongside. Although it might seem strange to use buttermilk as a central ingredient for ice cream, the end product winds up tasting a bit like the flavor of cheesecake. In other words, it’s delicious.

It takes a few minutes to pit the cherries, but otherwise the crisp comes together rather quickly. The same thing goes for the Buttermilk Ice Cream once the base is chilled overnight. The combination of tart, bright red cherries with the crunch of almonds, the chewiness of oatmeal and the deep caramel flavor of brown sugar can’t be beat. Really simple, really spring, really delicious.

Bench notes:
- Buttermilk is made from the tangy liquid that remains from churning cream for butter. Commercial buttermilk doesn’t have the true flavor of the old-fashioned product, so the addition of sour cream helps to add back in some of that complexity. I also prefer less sugar for a more tart flavor, but be sure to taste to see if you’d like it sweeter, especially if you’re adding the sour cream.
- I’ve also served the Cherry Crisp with Saffron Buttermilk Ice Cream for a very striking combination. Just bring the cream to a simmer and add a scant 1/4 teaspoon of loosely packed saffron threads to the cream to bloom the flavor. Cool the saffron cream and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Cherry Crisp
Serves 4

2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted
1/4 C sugar
1 T tapioca
1/2 t lemon zest
1/2 t kirsch (optional)

1/2 C sliced almonds
1/3 C flour
1/3 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C oatmeal
pinch salt
1/2 t orange or lemon zest
2 oz (4 T) cold butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place the pitted cherries in a bowl. Process the sugar and tapioca together until powdery. Toss with the cherries along with the lemon zest (and kirsch, if using). Let stand while you prepare the streusel.

Toss together the almonds, flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, salt and zest. Add the butter and blend until the mixture is coarse.

Pour the cherries into a small baking dish or four 4” ramekins. Sprinkle with the streusel and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until the topping is browned and the fruit juices are bubbling up.

Buttermilk Ice Cream

1 C heavy cream
1 1/2 C buttermilk
2 T sour cream (optional)
1/4 C + 2 T to 1/2 C sugar, to taste
pinch of salt
1 T lemon juice, to taste

Whisk the cream, buttermilk (and sour cream if using) together. Add the sugar, pinch of salt and the lemon juice, to taste. Chill thoroughly.

Freeze according to your machine’s instructions. Pour into a clean airtight container. Put a piece of plastic wrap on the surface, cover and place in your freezer to firm up.


valérie-jeanne said...

Thanks for another lovely cherry recipe. I live in western Montana, patiently waiting for the Flathead cherries to ripen. I think this will be a good year too, lots of blossoms, lots of nice rain. So, I'm collecting cherry recipes, planning to do some canning too. Love your photos, simple, elegant. Thanks for sharing.

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

crisps and simple custards are really some of my favorite things to eat and make during the summer. such a simple way to please everyone and use all the great fruit that we have available. beautiful!

Bryan said...

this would be awesome with sour cherries.

i'm just pissed i missed the one and only week theyre at farmer's market-- i think Lagier Ranch is the only farm around who harvests them?
Bings will have to do...

Diana H said...

This recipe is one my husband's family would adore. They love all things fruit and all things ice cream.

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

Lovely, fabulous recipe! What an excellent dessert, I would liker to serve it with hot home made custard! Yum Yum Yum!!!

Creative Classroom Core said...

I really love crisps, but have never tried a cherry one before! I bet it is incredible! I love cherries, so I am sure I would really love this!