Cherry season is upon us and it’s one of my favorite times of the year. It signifies summer has arrived and I always enjoy spending time out in the fresh country air picking cherries. That is, unless the air is filled with cicadas. Cicadas that have completely engulfed my yard, my trees, my car. You name it, they have overtaken it.
When they first started emerging a few weeks ago, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I don’t remember the last emergence that occurred 17 years ago, but this one has definitely left an impression on me. I no longer find it the coolest thing ever. Four weeks of this is more than plenty and I can’t wait until they’re gone. And did I mention the smell?!? Uhg, the smell! Think stale feet. Stale, dead feet. That’s what all their little dead carcasses remind me of and I’m not a fan of stale, dead feet.
This was an enormous pile of cicadas my sister and I found while out on a walk. They were crawling on top of one another and I’ve never seen anything more disgusting, so of course, I had to take a photo. I can only imagine how bad this pile is going to smell. Yuck!
What does all this cicada business have to do with cherries? Well, not much unless you go out to pick cherries and you have to do battle with the cicadas, for practically each and every cherry. No, they don’t eat them, but they do fly at your face when you accidentally touch them. They do land in your hair, on your arms, on your ears, and SMACK DAB on your lips! No body part is sacred to these pesky critters. Yes, they will fly down the front of your shirt, too. You also might just bring them into your house on your back, without even knowing it. Ask me how I know!!!
So, needless to say, this cherry pickin’ season hasn’t gone as smoothly as years past, but it was very fruitful. My sister came to visit from Nebraska a couple of weeks ago, so we made it a family affair. She’s not really the outdoorsy type, so the thought of fighting off cicadas for cherries was a bit of a struggle for her. But, I’m happy to report, she made it through the incident and I even sent home quite a few cherries with her. And I’m pretty stingy with my cherries.
All-in-all, I think we harvested around 50 pounds of cherries this year. So, I have BIG plans for all those cherries! And here’s just one of the recipes that I love to throw together when we have sour cherries on hand. I made this easy cherry crisp last week and it’s sweet, tart, and absolutely delicious. I really love that it doesn’t make very much, so the guilt factor goes down a couple of notches.
This is also a very forgiving recipe. I almost always have homemade pie filling on hand, so I just pour it in the pan and top it with the crisp topping for a fast and easy dessert. If you don’t keep pie filling on hand, just make your own. This makes an 8×8 pan or 4 ramekins. I used small jars this time and it worked beautifully.
And if you have a bit of vanilla ice cream, that’s a nice touch, too. Just sayin’.
- For the filling:
- 1-2 pint can cherry pie filling, homemade or store bought OR
- 5 cups fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- For the crisp topping:
- ¾ cups quick oats
- ¾ cups flour
- ¾ cups brown sugar
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ⅓ cup softened butter
- If using fresh or frozen cherries, combine the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium sauce pan. Let set for 10-15 minutes to allow the cherry juice to be pulled out and dissolve the sugar and cornstarch.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens. It will be slightly transparent and easily stick to a spoon.
- Once filling is prepared or if using canned filling, pour into an 8x8 baking dish, or equally between 4-5 ramekins.
- Cut the butter into pats and toss into the dry ingredients. Mix with hands until mixture is completely combined. Mixture will be lumpy, but should not contain large chunks of butter.
- Sprinkle filling over the cherry mixture or divide evenly between the ramekins. (Place ramekins on a large baking sheet before placing in oven.)
- Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until nicely golden brown.