Summer Cherry Crumble (with adaptogens and superfoods)

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Before I moved to Seattle 25 years ago I had never heard of pie cherries. I thought there were basically 2 kinds of cherries: the kind that bartenders put in my cocktail and the dark red ones that I could buy in the grocery store. Apparently I had a lot to learn. I was first introduced to pie cherries by my friend Robyn who had a cherry tree in her backyard. She made me some cherry pie and it was better than anything I'd ever tasted. I was hooked. Plus she picked the cherries herself. From a tree. In her yard.

I remember her saying that she had to pick them as soon as they were ready or else the birds would feast on them. For a girl who grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and then lived in cities like NY and LA this was revelatory and very "little house on the prairie-ish." In other words it was pretty cool.

Back then the only place you could buy pie cherries was at a farmer's market and they would sell out fast. Every July I would go to the University District Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings right at 10 AM, make a mad dash to Liz and Mike at Grouse Mountain Farm and buy 5 lbs. of pie cherries: some for a pie that night and the rest to go into the freezer for a pie at Thanksgiving.

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Once my kids came along, having cherry pie became something we all looked forward to every summer. In fact my daughter decided at quite a young age that she preferred having a cherry pie to birthday cake so I started freezing enough cherries to accommodate that family tradition as well.

These days you can find pie cherries frozen at Whole Foods all year round but I still love the ritual of heading to one of the Seattle Farmer's Markets and picking up a few pounds of fresh ones. There are lots more farmers that grow them now and which is good for me since I don't get to the University market as much as I used to. There are several varieties including Montmorency and Morello which are the ones I have seen the most. One caveat is that these cherries have a short season - sometimes only about 4 weeks - so there's a small window of time to get them. Pie cherries are tart and delicious but smaller and more delicate than regular cherries. They are also incredibly high in antioxidants, help reduce inflammation, and have plenty of melatonin so they can help with insomnia. 

I found some pie cherries at the Capitol Hill farmer's market yesterday and decided to turn them into a summer fruit crumble along with some blueberries that I already had on hand. I also added some adaptogens (ashwaganda and maca powders) and collagen peptides to the recipe to make the whole thing even more super powered. Ashwaganda is good for calming the nervous system and reducing stress, maca can help balance hormones and boost energy and collagen peptides are great for hair, skin and nails. 

I don't use refined sugar any more so I sweetened the filling with a touch of maple syrup and the topping with some maple flakes that I picked up when I was in Montreal last year. If you can get your hands on these or on some maple sugar I highly recommend it, but if not you can use coconut sugar or honey instead. Both of these are easier on your system then regular refined sugar and just as delicious.

Summer Cherry Crumble (with adaptogens and superfoods)

Serves 6-8
(naturally gluten-free and paleo friendly)

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 6-8 cups of fruit, washed (I used tart pie cherries and some fresh blueberries, but you could really use any fruit or combination of fruit. See note below for ideas).
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 scoop collagen peptides (I used Vital Proteins which you can now find at Costco)

Topping :

  • 1cup of almond flour
  • 2/3 cup of unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup pecans or almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of maple sugar or maple flakes (you can substitute coconut sugar)
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil (or grass-fed butter)
  • 1 teaspoon Navitas Organics Maca Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sun Potion Ashwaganda Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 
  • Big pinch of sea salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add filling ingredients to a large bowl and stir until well combined
  3. Add topping ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbly.
  4. Put fruit mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and then sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit. 
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown
  6. Top with whipped coconut cream or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Note: When cherry season is over, try using other fruit either solo or in combination like peaches, nectarines, blackberries, blueberries, plums and apples .