There is no better desert while camping than a good cherry crisp…until now! This Bourbon Cherry Crisp will knock the socks off of any desert you have had by the campfire before.
I got inspired for this as I looked for a use with my annual case of cherries. We were getting ready to head to a family camping trip and I knew that everyone would be bringing s’mores, but that there would be a significant lack of dignified campfire deserts. Now, I love my s’mores just as much as the next person, but I can only take so many in a week and this was a great option to break up the monotony.
I made this with rainier cherries, mostly because I ate all the bings before they made it into the mix, and they were delicious. I have never had a cherry crisp or cobbler though that wasn’t tasty…there is just something about being in the wilderness that makes everything taste even better.
The key to this recipe is the right amount of lemon juice to cut the sugar. The first round I hadn’t added enough and people noticed, on round two I added significantly more and the reviews reflected it! I strongly recommend adding the lemon, and potentially more bourbon.
Typically I would have cooked this over the coals on the fire, but this year there was a burn ban in the area where we were camping. We had all brought barbecues and griddles and I was able to still cook it over that. I appreciated that over the propane I was able to get a consistent temperature and it really thickened nicely, over the fire though you get a little more charring of some of the cherries because the temperature varies, that adds a nice smoky flavor to the dish, up to you for your preference! This is also a dish that you can make at home in the oven, it is not reserved exclusively for the campground.
During cooking the filling bubbles up through the topping and you can tell as it starts to caramelize that it is ready. I actually made a bourbon glaze at home and then poured it over the cherries at camp so that the assembly was easier, you can also add all the ingredients in at once and allow it to cook down together. Either way it is going to end up delicious. When I am camping, I like to have as little prep work and clean up as possible so I always do things as simply as possible when I can.
The bourbon glaze in this recipe was so delicious that anyone who was around when I poured it in took turns cleaning out the container it was in. I actually thought that they had washed it when I got it back because it had been cleaned out so effectively. It may be something that you want to use in other recipes as well, I promise that you are going to be in love with it. If you are using it by itself you may want to cut the bourbon in half because I added some extra to compliment the flavor of the cherries and allow it to be strong enough in the whole dish.
Fresh cherries are also key to this recipe. Like in my recent cocktail, I cut the cherries in half to remove the pit and then they were ready to go in the crumble. You could use some canned cherries if you were in a pinch or if it was not cherry season, but you will be much happier with an in season fruit. If you can’t find fresh cherries you could try this with peaches, apples, or any other fruit and I am sure that it would be delicious. In fact, I will be back, I am going to go try it with peaches right now…
Fine, I will wait, but that will be delicious and peaches are in season!
I hope that you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as mine did. I found that it was quite delicious to all of us and a recipe that will be made time and time again as we gather around the campfire.
Bourbon Cherry Crisp
· 4 Cups cherries, halved and pitted (I think I added more while camping because I brought extra, so it isn’t crucial to be exact.)
· 1 Cup Bourbon
· 1 Lemon, Zested and Juiced
· 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
· 4 Tbsp Corn Starch
· 2 Drops doTERRA Lemon Essential Oil
· 2 Drops doTERRA Orange Essential Oil
Whisk the corn starch in to the liquids before heating or before adding the cherries, once it is dissolved you can either cook the ingredients down to form a glaze (boil until it is thick enough for your liking) or add the cherries and allow it to thicken in the crisp. I cooked the glaze at home and then added it to the recipe while camping so I didn’t have to bring as many ingredients with me.
· ½ Cup White Sugar
· ½ Cup Brown Sugar
· 1/8 tsp Salt
· 8 Tbsp Butter
· 1 Cup Flour
· ¾ Cup Oats
· 1 Cup Sliced Almonds
· 2 Drops doTERRA Cinnamon Essential Oil*
· 2 Drops doTERRA Cassia Essential Oil*
Allow the butter to soften and then cream together the sugars and butter. After you have a smooth consistency add the salt and flour and mix until evenly incorporated. Add the Oats, Almonds, and Essential Oils and incorporate until everything is mixed evenly in the topping. I added it to a bag at this point for camping (again, make it at home to make it easy!) and then put it on the crisp fireside; but you can also put it directly over the cherries at this time.
Once the topping is on, cover the crisp with foil or a lid in a cast iron pan or dutch oven. Cook with the lid on until the glaze is boiling through the topping and you can see the edges starting to caramelize. Remove from heat and allow the glaze to cool and thicken, serve with whipped cream or ice cream – coffee goes well with it too!
· Prepare as much of this recipe at home and bring it with you in your cooler, I do one container for the glaze, a bag for the halved cherries (toss in lemon juice to avoid browning), and one bag of the topping. This saves a ton of effort and clean up on your trip.
· Char some of the cherries before putting them in the recipe. This adds a nice smoky flavor and makes the dish really nice. I am not saying you should burn the whole dish, but selective charring is great!
· Add enough topping to cover, but don’t make it too thick. You want about a 2 to 1 ratio of filling to topping or you will end up with a crisp that is too dry. You may end up with extra topping and that is just fine because it is delicious and saves well. Don’t be afraid to stop adding topping, it is worth it.
· Cook in cast iron. If you cook this in a thin walled pot or pan you will likely burn more than you plan to…cook it in cast iron or another thick walled pot with a lid. If you don’t have any cast iron, invest in some today, it is well worth it!
· If you cook this at home, heat the oven to about 400 degrees. When the crisp is cooked, broil the topping for a couple minutes to add a delicious crisp to it!
*You do not have to use doTERRA essential oils but make sure any oil you use is food grade and
safe for consumption.