Cherries are my absolute favorite stone fruit, so much so that I finally broke down this year and bought a cherry pitter. Man, those are fun and efficient, like hole punching the pits out of cherries and I cannot recommend it enough. I also imagined all the yucky things I want to rid the world of as I pitted cherries – pop, pop, pop, you’re gone – so yay for multitasking.
This is a simple summer treat using maple syrup instead of sugar and just a small amount of oil that you could probably swap out for applesauce if it means that much to you. (I did not try this so don’t take my word for it.) It is luscious, juicy, just sweet enough and perfect as is or warmed with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream on top for the whoooooole experience. You could probably sub the same amount of frozen cherries, but I did not try this method myself. I would use them straight from the freezer so there was little time for defrosting and adding more liquid into the mix. Also, I used gluten-free flour because that is how I bake. If you want to use regular all-purpose flour, that should be a simple one-for-one swap.
5 cups fresh cherries, pitted, or mixed berries 2 tablespoons cornstarch ⅓ cup pure maple syrup 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract ½ teaspoon real almond extract 1 cup quick-cooking oats ½ cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (like this) or flour of your choice ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼ teaspoon salt ⅓ cup pure maple syrup 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter or melted refined coconut oil or neutral oil of your preference
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a square baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine the cherries or mixed berries with cornstarch with a large spoon until the cornstarch is absorbed. Add the maple syrup, vanilla and almond extracts.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until integrated. Add the maple syrup and vegan butter or oil and stir until all the flour is evenly coated. It will be sticky and thick.
Spoon the cherries into the prepared pan and tap the pan so it is even. Sprinkle the topping by hand over the cherries. Some areas will not be covered with crisp topping. That is fine!
Bake for 38 - 40 minutes or until the topping is golden.