Fall in love with this Vegan and Gluten Free Cherry Crisp, with a sweet cherry filling and a crispy oat crust, it's an easy and delicious summer dessert.
Crisps are such an easy and delicious dessert, I kick myself every time I make one because I realize that I should be making them more often.
I mean, you get your favorite ripe summer fruit AND a crunchy, sweet, rich topping. And crisps are SO easy. You just need a bowl and a baking pan. The prep time is minimal so you can have a crowd-pleasing dessert with little effort.
Plus, a good scoop of ice cream on top never disappointed anyone.
What is a crisp?
There are three types of baked fruit desserts, topped with a pastry.
Crisps. Crumbles. Cobblers.
Cobblers are usually topped with biscuit dough, creating a more solid topping. Almost like a pie crust.
Crumbles and crisps are more similar. Crisps have an oat topping, while crumbles may not. But these two terms are pretty interchangeable.
So, a crisp is a delicious baked dish, with fruit on the bottom and a crispy, crumbly, and sweet oat topping.
Why I love this Vegan Cherry Crisp
Dietary needs — this recipe is vegan and gluten free. And with cherries and maple syrup used to sweeten, it's also refined sugar free. You won't find any vegan butter here - this recipe is also oil-free.
Easy to make — you don't really need any special equipment (though a cherry pitter is nice to have) and you only need a couple of bowls and 20 minutes to prep this crisp
Tasty summer dessert — you can make the most of cherry season AND your friends and family will never know this recipe is vegan and gluten-free
Cherries: I love using fresh cherries because they are plump and sweet, but if you don't have access to fresh cherries or don't want to bother with a cherry pitter you can use frozen cherries. If you use frozen cherries be sure to let them thaw completely to avoid tons of juice in the bottom of your crisp.
Maple Syrup: maple syrup is technically optional if your cherries are very ripe and/or if you don't want to add any sweetness. The dish will taste great with just the sweetness from the cherries, but a little maple syrup turns the crisp into a more decadent dessert.
Lemon Juice: lemon juice helps the fruit stay fresh. It also adds a bite of acid to the dish to create a layer of flavor. Don't skip it, but you could sub lime juice.
Cornstarch/Arrowroot: you can use either cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Both have the same effect: they coat the cherries so that the crisp topping doesn't soak up all their moisture.
Rolled Oats: rolled oats are the ideal crisp topping. You could also use quick oats (though I prefer the texture of rolled in this recipe). Avoid using steel cut oats - they won't work. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but if you have a severe gluten sensitivity, be sure to buy certified gluten-free oats to avoid the possible gluten contamination that can happen in processing.
Pecans: pecans add some fat to the crisp topping (fat = flavor). They also add another crunchy texture. You could leave them out and sub in more oats or you can pick a different nut - walnuts would be a good sub.
Maple Syrup: maple syrup will bind the crust together to make it crisp. If you want a completely fruit-sweetened dessert, use date syrup instead - the dish may need to bake longer with this option
Oat Flour or All Purpose Flour: I use oat flour because it is easy, relatively unprocessed, and cheap to make at home. But any flour will work.
How to make Vegan and Gluten-Free Cherry Crisp
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl toss the cherries with the maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cornstarch, and salt.
Step 2. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.
Step 3. In a separate large bowl, mix the oats, pecans, maple syrup, flour, cinnamon, and salt.
Step 4. Spread the oat mixture onto the cherries.
Step 5. Bake 35-40 minutes, until the topping is golden. Let cool slightly. Serve with a few scoops of ice cream on top and enjoy!
Thank you God for seasonal desserts like this crisp. Help us to enjoy the fruit of your creation. Amen.
You need more crisps in your life (everyone does!). Here are a few of my favorite crisp & crumble recipes: