So here's my suggestion - going forward, when we're talking about life being wonderful, we really ought to say "life's a bowl of cherry cobbler" instead... because there's absolutely no downside to a bowl of cherry cobbler.
That's especially true of this version, which combines a sweet-tart juicy cherry filling with a buttery almond shortbread topping. I suppose there's a small downside in that there's way too much butter to pretend it's good for you, but then again, few things worth eating ever are. Besides, the effort required to pit all those cherries will probably have burned a few calories, so it'll all balance out... right?
With cherry season in full swing, I was lucky enough to score baskets of sweet Rainier and sour Montmorency cherries on the same day, so I decided to use a blend so that my crisp would have the best of both worlds... not to mention that the mixture of bright red and light creamy yellow cherries is really quite pretty. Don't worry if all you can't find both sweet and sour, though... this crisp is just as delicious when made with a single variety, as long as you remember to adjust the amount of sugar to compensate - up to ½ cup for an all-sour filling, or as low as 2 tbsp for an all-sweet.
I should also add that this recipe can be easily adapted to use just about any kind of stone fruit, since they always pair so well with almonds. You really can't go wrong as long as you use whichever one looks the sweetest and juiciest on that particular day, whether it be cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums... or even a blend if you can't make up your mind.
2 cups pitted sweet cherries (ie. Bing or Rainier)
2 cups pitted sour cherries (ie. Montmorency)
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
¾ cup flour
½ cup ground almonds
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, chilled
2 tbsp milk
½ tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cherries, sugar and cornstarch. Stir until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, ground almonds and sugar. Cut in butter until loose and crumbly. Add milk and almond extract, and stir until the dough just comes together.
Pour the cherry mixture into an even layer on the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Pinch off small pieces of dough, scattering them on top of the cherry mixture to more-or-less cover the fruit (don't worry if there are a few small gaps in the topping, though... it'll spread out a bit and fill in the gaps as it bakes).
Bake the crumble in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and topping is crisp and golden. Depending on your mood, the crumble can be served warm or at room temperature. If you're in a particularly indulgent mood, serve warm crumble a-la-mode with a scoop of good-quality vanilla ice cream.