I scoured the internet for a good cherry crisp recipe, but surprisingly this concept is not very popular. And the recipe in Joy of Cooking called for the dreaded canned cherry pie filling. The horrors. I developed my own recipe and I hope you like it as much as I do (well, did, it's long gone now).
After you have pitted your cherries, mix them with 1/8-1/4 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of your cherries), 2 tablespoons tapioca starch, the juice and zest of half a lemon, and a pinch of salt.
If you've never pitted cherries, don't do so for the first time in a white shirt, or any shirt other than a red one. It's a messy business and requires an apron. Anything sitting nearby will also look disturbingly like you did some butchering that afternoon.
Warn your guests that there might be a few stray pits left in the dessert. Somehow mine had three and everyone else was essentially spared. Karma?
About 2 pounds of fresh, sweet cherries, pitted
1/8-1/4 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of cherries)
2 tablespoons tapioca
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup butter, cold and diced
Pinch of salt
Pit about 2 pounds of fresh, sweet cherries while wearing an apron or red shirt. To the pitted cherries, and 1/8-1/4 cup sugar, depending on how sweet your cherries are (mine were very sweet). Mix in 2 tablespoons tapioca starch, a pinch of salt, and the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon.
To make the crisp topping, in a large bowl add 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup cold butter. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, press the butter into the flour mixture until coarse pebbles form (keep at it until it happens).
Butter either individual ramekins (about six one-cup ramekins) or a small baking dish (perhaps about 9x9) and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the cherry mixture and then top with the crisp topping. Bake at 375 for 27-35 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve warm with ice cream.
The crisp topping and cherry mixture can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge separately.