This dessert combines the sweet, tart taste of fresh cherries with the distinct flavor of vanilla. It’s a dessert that pairs perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You just might find yourself counting the days until the next cherry season!
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, fresh cherries were easy to come by. The cherry season would start around the first week of June and, depending on the state and the variety of cherries would last until late August. So that meant my summers were full of eating sweet, tart cherries and having pit spitting contests with my brothers out in the backyard! I was pretty good too, (it’s all about the arc).
By far, my favorite cherries are Rainier cherries, with their bright yellow and red skins and super sweet flavor. Though we are no longer living in the Pacific Northwest, we still look forward to the cherry season. They are more expensive here in Hawaii and not quite as fresh, but they still remind me of home. I always buy two bags, one just to eat (and spit the pits) and one to use for baking. And this recipe is one of our “must make” recipes for cherry season! I think it will become yours too!
I like to use bing cherries or other dark red varieties for this recipe. This recipe does take almost 4 pounds of cherries. And I highly recommend buying extra cherries just to eat; otherwise, you may find yourself smacking hands that are trying to snatch the cherries you need for the dessert.
Pitting the Cherries:
You do need to pit the cherries (remove the pits) before making the dessert. I call it a labor of love, and it’s so worth it!! The easiest way I find for removing the pits is to cut the cherry almost in half, using a small knife, but leaving the cherry intact. Then pop out the pit with my thumb. They make cherry pitters, but I can’t attest to how well they work. If you do not like pitting cherries by hand, you could always purchase a pitter.
Once the cherries are pitted, this recipe comes together quickly. The steps for this dessert are as follows:
- Add the pitted cherries to a large bowl and mix with sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, flour, and salt. The flour helps thicken up any cherry juice.
- Transfer the cherries to the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon until completely combined.
- Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Then using a pastry blender, pastry cutter, or fork work the butter into the dry ingredients until everything is moist and it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle over the top of the cherries.
- Bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes.
- Let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!
Cherry Vanilla Crisp
- 7-8 cups pitted cherries, about 4 pounds
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ¼ salt
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Prepare a 13 x 9-inch pan by lightly greasing the bottom and sides.
- Add the pitted cherries to a large bowl and mix with sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, flour, and salt.
- Transfer cherries to the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, sugars, salt, and cinnamon until completely combined.
- Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Using a pastry blender or pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until everything is moist and resembles coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle evenly over the top of the cherries.
- Bake until the filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes.
- Let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.