Cherry Almond Crumble

Cherry Almond Crumble

As I walked into my apartment late last night, kicking off my shoes and tossing my keys on the kitchen counter, I asked my boyfriend to step out on the balcony and smell the air. Though an odd request, he did as I asked, moving the window blinds aside and sliding the door open. After taking in several breaths of the air, he turned around to look at me with a puzzled expression across his face. It just smells like night, he said.

Exactly, I told him. It smells like night.

Cherry Almond Crumble
Cherry Almond Crumble
Cherry Almond Crumble

When dusk falls, the air takes on a new scent. While the aromas of the day are subdued, drowned out by heat and car exhaust, the disappearance of the sun pulls out the scents hidden deep within the earth. Night air has an undeniable sweetness, as if a thousand quiet flower blossoms are blooming at once. The smell is earthy, the dirt kicked up during the day finally settling back to solid ground. Once the humidity of the day begins to wane, the dampness of the air holds the aromas in place, helping them grow stronger as the dew settles onto the leaves in the trees.

When I walk through the grass, looking up at the starry sky above me, I wonder if the stars rain their own fragrance down from the heavens.

Cherry Almond Crumble

Growing up in a state marked by pastures and endless blue skies, the unique scent accompanying the night was something I took for granted. Perhaps it wasn't until that late night walk into my apartment that it dawned on me that it was something to appreciate. The light breeze keeps the aromas of night unspoiled—never to grow old, always to remain familiar. I wonder if the night carries its own scent elsewhere, in cities big and small. I wonder if it has the same sweetness, the same feeling of grass underneath your bare feet and dirt beneath your fingernails. I wonder if I am the lucky one.

As I sit out of my porch with twilight long past, the darkness of the sky pure and unyielding, I breath in the night and hold it in my lungs until my chest aches. I know I am the lucky one.

Cherry Almond Crumble

Cherry Almond Crumble has a flavor as pure as the night air. Dark sweet cherries are mixed with a little brown sugar and baked until bubbly and fragrant. A dough of cinnamon, oats, and almonds is sprinkled over the top and continues baking until golden. The fruit crumble allows the simplicity and sweetness of the fresh cherries to shine, the other components deepen and support the bright flavor. This crumble is a celebration of summer fruits and long summer nights.

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Cherry Almond Crumble

Cherry Filling
1 1/2 lbs (0.7 kg) dark sweet cherries, pitted and halved
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon brandy or dark rum (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly grease a 10 inch round or cast iron pan.

In the prepared pan, mix the cherries, brown sugar, and cornstarch together until the sugar and cornstarch dissolves. Evenly pour the brandy over the top. Bake for 20 minutes.

Almond Crumble
4 tablespoons (60 grams) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (60 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams) old fashioned oats
1/2 cup (60 grams) sliced or chopped almonds

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in the cinnamon and salt. Stir in the flour, oats, and almonds. The mixture should hold together in your hand when squeezed together. When the cherries have finished baking, evenly sprinkle the crumble over the top. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Serve warm or chilled, with ice cream or whipped cream. Keep chilled in the refrigerator.