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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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Jul 23, 2014

I love, I mean LOVE, farmers markets.  One of the first things I do when planning a trip is to find out where the local farmers market is and plan my trip around visiting it.  The only problem with farmers markets (at least where I currently live) is they are only open for a few months out of the year, and during those months, one day out of the week.  For this reason I am so excited I stumble upon one of my favorite farms produce stand the other day.  What’s even more exciting is that it is open every day of the week!  Yes, I will still make my weekend runs to the farmers market but now I have an option to buy local in the middle of the week.  You don’t even know how happy this makes me! 

A couple of days ago I went by to get some produce for dinner and to my excitement they had freshly picked cherries.  I bought a pint and was trying to decide if I should just sit down and eat them all at one setting or come up with a new fresh recipe.  You can probably guess that I chose the latter.

It’s funny, as a child I didn’t even like cherries.  I guess I assumed they all tasted like the super sweet, maraschino cherries that came out of a jar.  Yuck!  Luckily, I came around and tried them again.  They are now one of my favorite summer treats.  Especially, the yellowish red Rainier variety.  They may not be cheap but they are well worth it when they are in season.  On this day the market only had Bing cherries and I was plenty happy with these. 

My culinary skills typically focus on the savory side of things.  I am not usually a huge "sweets" person and I have never been good at baking.  Not patient enough I guess.  But I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me to make a dessert.  What’s better than fresh local cherries in a dessert?  Not much. 

I decided I would make a crumble with ripe juicy cherries!  I wanted to add a little pop of brightness so I pulled out some lemons to accent the sweet cherries. 

I started by halving and pitting the cherries.  If you have a cherry pitter feel free to use it but I just do it the old fashioned way.  Cut around the cherry with a paring knife and pop out the seed.  When they are ripe it is really easy to do.  Then I add them to a bowl with the juice and zest of a lemon and finish it off with some maple syrup for some extra sweetness. 

In a separate bowl I add gluten-free rolled outs, cinnamon and coconut oil.  Then you just mash it together with your hands so the coconut oil melts slightly and it becomes a crumbly texture. 

Next, I coat my two petite tart dishes with coconut oil, fill them with the cherry mixture and top with the crumble.  Then they get popped into the oven until they are bubbling over the sides and crisp on top.  Mini ramekins could also be used for this recipe.  It would make four smaller portions.

I just love the combination of cherry and lemon.  Not too sweet and just the right amount of tartness makes this crumble sophisticated enough to serve at a dinner party.  You should definitely try this one at home!

What is your favorite way to eat fresh summer cherries?  Drop me a line in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you!

Lemon Cherry Crumble
Serves 2 or 4


2 cups of cherries, halved and pitted

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 tsp cinnamon

3+ tbsp coconut oil, unrefined


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Coat two 5" tart dishes or four mini ramekins with coconut oil.

2. In a bowl combine cherries, lemon zest, lemon juice and maple syrup.

3. In another bowl combine oats, cinnamon and 3 tbsp coconut oil.  Use your hands or a fork to mix it together.  I recommend using your hands so the warmth can melt the coconut oil just enough to make it all crumbly.

4. Pour the cherry mixture into the tarts or ramekins and top with the oat mixture.  Place onto a parchement lined baking sheet.

5. Bake for around 30 to 35 minutes until the cherry filling is bubbling and the topping is starting to brown.

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.