This recipe is a version of my recipe, Sossie Beile's Little Cherry Crumb Bars, which I veganized with coconut oil, and adjusted for a moister crumb and a crispier topping. I also accessed a recipe from Gourmet from 2001 for sour-cherry preserves. For the latter, I had the wrong kind of pectin, the wrong volume of cherries, and the reviews warned me not to proceed unless all was correct. So at the last minute (i.e. the cherries were already bubbling away on the stove) I found the cornstarch hiding out in my pantry, and made cherry pie filling instead of cherry jam. —creamtea
one 9-inch pie
For the filling
tart cherries, such as Montmorency
1 to 1-1/4 cups
freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice
good-quality almond extract
For the crumble
safflower oil for greasing the pan
organic granulated sugar
solid coconut oil, packed (chill packed measuring cups in refrigerator briefly if oil is melting) (butter's yummy if you are not vegan!)
The day before baking, wash and pit cherries. Drain and pat dry. Toss with smaller amound of sugar and lemon juice, taste for sweetness and add additional 1/4 cup sugar if desired, then cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
On baking day, scrape cherry mixture into a 2-3 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. (there will still be some undissolved sugar at the bottom of the container--scrape it in too). Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cherries should be tender, darker in color, but not still whole. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Set aside to cool somewhat while you prepare the crumble.
For the crumble
Pre-heat oven to 350º
Grease 9" deep dish ceramic or Pyrex pie or 9" square Pyrex pan.
Whisk dry ingredients together until well blended, crumbling brown sugar into mixture. Toss again to evenly distribute.
Rub in cold, solid coconut oil, breaking up and tossing with fingers until pieces the size of small peas remain. Drizzle in egg. Toss with fork until combined.
Take about 1/2 of mixture and pat lightly into bottom of pyrex or ceramic deep-dish pie pan. Press down slightly to firm up, but keep it light and a little airy.
Scrape cherry filling into pan to cover bottom crumb crust, distributing with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon if necessary.
Top with remaining crumbs to mostly cover the filling. Do not press down this time, just distribute evenly. Scatter sliced almonds over, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in middle of oven 35-45 minutes, until golden and the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven, set aside to cool. Cut in wedges and serve.