This marriage of apricots and tart Evans cherries is made in summer-fruit heaven. Top it with crispy, oaty, buttery crumbs for a fantastic dessert. (Or a delicious breakfast - I won't tell.) Skip to recipe.
The Evans cherries are almost ripe.
The trees are loaded, and I've been sneaking out to pick a few of the reddest ones. I know many people pick them as soon as they're medium red, but I like to wait until the sour cherries are deep dark red and have more sugars developed, even better after a light frost if I can wait that long. They're still mouth-puckering, but the flavour is deeper. This year, the Evans cherries are a little early. They usually ripen in late August to early September in our area, but if you can stand to hold off, you'll have amazing sour cherries. They don't seem to suffer for a longer wait, staying on the the tree and just getting sweeter.
I love seeing those trees, abundantly adorned with their ruby jewels. It gives me such pleasure.
It wasn't that long ago that we couldn't even grow sour cherries in Alberta – the Evans has only been available to the public since about 1996. It was developed in practically our own back yard. Alberta horticulturist, Dr. Ieuan Evans, discovered an unknown strain of sour cherry trees growing in an old orchard northeast of Edmonton where they had been producing cherries since 1923. He propagated the suckers and distributed them everywhere, and within years, the Evans cherry exploded in popularity, now being grown all over Canada and into the United States and other cold climate countries in the world. The trees reach 10 to 15 feet tall and are easy to grow. They are reliable producers of heavy sour cherry crops, with large juicy cherries almost an inch across.
This is what summer tastes like - soft baked fruit, tart and juicy, topped with a crunchy crumbly topping of buttery crumbs. Yes.
I found beautiful B.C. apricots at the farmers market and what better way to showcase them than together with our beautiful Alberta sour cherries?
Look at those glowing jewels.
The snuggle up all cozy together under their blanket of crumbs to make this:
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Kitchen Frau notes: Substitute other sour cherries if you don't have Evans cherries. You can also substitute peaches or nectarines for the apricots.
Check out my post on a nifty trick to easily pit those delicate and juicy Evans cherries.
Apricot and Evans Sour Cherry Crisp
- 2 cups diced apricots, ¾ inch/2cm cubes (340gms)
- 2 cups pitted Evans sour cherries (320 gms pitted) or other sour cherries; see how to pit Evans cherries
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- ½ cup (100gms) sugar (preferably organic evaporated cane sugar)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
- ⅓ cup (75gms) soft coconut oil or butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (125gms) lightly packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
- ½ cup (50 gms) oat flour, gluten-free if necessary
- ½ cup (50gms) ground almonds/almond meal
- ½ cup (45 gms) rolled oats (quick oats), gluten-free if necessary
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Put the diced apricots and pitted cherries into a 9-inch (23cm) square or 10-inch (25cm) round baking dish. Sprinkle with the almond extract and toss lightly. (It will distribute more evenly when baking.)
In a small bowl, mix together the ½ cup sugar and the cornstarch or potato starch, until no lumps remain. Pour this mixture evenly over the fruit in the baking dish.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon, cream the coconut oil, salt, and brown sugar until well combined. Beat in the oat flour, ground almonds, and rolled oats until well mixed and crumbly, or work them in with your fingers.
Spread the crumble topping evenly over the fruit.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream, frozen yogurt, or whipped cream.
Leftovers are great for breakfast with yogurt.
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You might also like these other Evans Cherries recipes:
No-Bake Evans Cherry and Coconut Bars - a Delightful Use for Evans Cherries
So glad you are championing the Evans sour cherry (probably crossed over from Siberia, into Alaska and then southerly). Thanks to Ieuen and his keen eye, they were not lost! AND, he never wanted to profit from their propagation and distribution...what a stellar fella!
Further to your pitting discoveries...you can place the cherry at the top of a glass soda or beer bottle (one that fits the cherry), use the straw (a sturdy one, like from "Mickey Dee's"...you won't have to clip it so often...hey, you gotta use what's out there)...position the cherry...punch the straw down and...bingo...the pit falls into the bottle! Hack l learned on the internet - you're welcome!
Now, you Margaret, have taught me something! I've been too impatient! Had to just make that first batch of Evans Jam! (My tree finally produced enough to do so) Very tart despite much sugar! Now l will wait 'til the fruit is sweeter, darker and more amenable to my palate.
Thanks for high-lighting all the bounty that is available in our "neck of the woods".
Thank you, too, for the lovely tribute to your Papa. There were some shared tears, as l see and feel mein Vati in the trees he planted as 6"ers that are now 40-50 feet!
The concrete he laid and dated (don't we all do that?!) and the chimneys he built. He also came to this new land from the faltering old with barely a penny...1930.
Evans cherries are just the greatest, aren't they? I love them in jams and jellies, too. I'm always so grateful when I see those trees loaded with their abundant harvest - fruit development for the prairies has come such a long way since those days when all anyone could grow were small, sour crabapples and chokecherries.
I can hardly keep up with all our ripe juicy fruits and berries now.
Wishing you lots of happy memories of your father. 🙂
I really liked learning a bit of the history behind the fruit in addition to how to use them. It's great that you have access to them, I guess there's a farm near your home or do you grow any trees yourself? The crumble looks delicious. A great summer recipe! Thanks for sharing.
Hi Amanda, we live on an acreage and we're lucky enough to have a couple of really prolific Evans cherry trees. Once they're fully ripe I'm busy jamming and jellying and juicing them, and using them in baking wherever I can. It's sour cherry heaven around here. The trees are so pretty in spring, too, when they're loaded with snowy white blossoms. Thanks for stopping by:)
This recipe comes at the perfect time! We have 3 Evans cherry trees in the garden and I started picking some of the ripe-ish ones yesterday! Just couldn't wait any longer and all those magpies out there seem to like them just fine already! Now I know what I'll do with my first batch! I love that you use oat flour and coconut sugar. I am trying to stick to healthy flours and sugars as much as I can myself! I cannot wait to try your recipe! Have a great sunny day!
Greetings from Calgary,
Hello almost-neighbour! We're so lucky to have these fantastic cherries in Alberta, aren't we? There aren't many kinds of fruit trees that survive our cold winters, especially up here a bit further north. I bet you'll be busy cherrying too, with three trees! These are heavy producers. Happy cooking and a great sunny day to you, too! Thanks for visiting.
Love crisps! Such a nice combination with apricot and cherry! And we love those cherries. Do you think there's still be some for us to pick when we're back?? ? Can't wait to get together and share some stories of Italy ?.
Yes, for sure! I'll make sure to leave some on the tree for you. They'll keep. 🙂 Can't wait to hear about all your adventures - foodie and otherwise! What an amazing time you must be having!
Wow, dear Margaret what a crisp recipe. I need to try this recipe right away.
But have no sour cherries. Can I use them from the jar that is used for Black Forest
Getting hungry reading you blog.
XO A. Irma
So glad it's making you hungry! That's what I love to do 😉 Yes, I'm sure you could use the jarred sour cherries - that's a great idea. I'd just cut the sugar down to 1/4 cup in the fruit layer of the crisp, since those cherries are already sweetened. Hope you're having a great summer! Hugs.