Black Pepper Cherry Crisp

Black Pepper Cherry Crisp

A bag of late season Bing cherries made it into my cart tonight.  It was purely an impulse buy as I had nothing in mind for them when I reached out and rescued them from the supermarket display.  Eh, they where were on special.  That alone is usually not enough to persuade me to buy anything without plan but tonight it was just instinct.

I went through the checkout line of the impossibly perky checkout girl I happen like.  She is the one with a  tattoo on her neck and face who is always trying to decipher my basket as she checks through its contents.   A bag of cherries, two apples, tomato paste and AA batteries.   I imagine it is a game she plays to stay sane in a job where insanity must be a job requirement.  A person’s grocery items are nothing more than a puzzle to be solved.

She never shuts up but she also doesn’t let anyone really engage her in conversation either.  As a result  her  line never slows down for idle chit chat. This has earned her my affection.  While she tries to figure out what I am going to cook on any given night when I get home I try to figure out how someone so pretty and smart ended up checking groceries at the supermarket with a tattoo on her neck and face.  My puzzle is harder to solve.

Tonight neither of us were going to solve the riddles in front of us.  She didn’t have a clue and  I  didn’t have one either.

“Aren’t you cooking tonight?”

“I’m going to make a pie.”

Why did I say that?  I was caught off guard.  Cherry pie?

“Well, aren’t you motivated!”

As soon as she said it I knew I wasn’t going to make a cherry pie tonight.   I know they say things like ‘easy as pie’ to imply making pie is easy but to me its not so.  It involves crust making and crust making just seemed like a lot to ask tonight.

Eating them outright was not a consideration.  I needed to come up with a blog post and if I ate all the cherries I would just have to think up something else to use and, well, I wasn’t motivated enough for that either.   Besides, thinking up something else would mean I would have had to go back to the market and I certainly wasn’t motivated enough for that.   In hell you have to go the supermarket twice in the same day, every day.

Perhaps ‘unmotivated’ just another word for ‘lazy’?   I would have wallowed in my laziness or even rose up to its challenges and made the damn pie but then I read over at Tasty Trix that some people refer to ‘cobbler’ as ‘pie for the unmotivated’.  It got me to thinking that there are still a lot of options available for the unmotivated!

If you find some fruit in your basket and pie seems out of the question you can still make a cobbler, a clafoutis, a crumble, a crisp, a grunt, a slump, a flummery, a buckle and even something called a pandowdy.    Oh I almost forgot, you can make a betty too!

I don’t even have to motivation to pretend I know what all the differences are.

As it turned out I did have the motivation to make this crisp.  At least I think its a crisp and not a crumble.  I also had the motivation to throw in some black pepper at the last minute which was a really good idea as it turned out.   It gave the dish some interest without taking over.   I’ll be motivated to do this one again.

Black Pepper Cherry Crisp

Black Pepper Cherry Crisp
Black Pepper Cherry Crisp

Black Pepper Cherry Crisp

This is what you will need:

  • 4 cups pitted Bing cherries
  • 1 T kirsch liqueur
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crushed sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unbleached AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 6 tablespoons butter

This is how you make it:

  1. Butter an 8 x 8-inch pan.
  2. In another bowl pour the kirsch over the cherries and toss well.
  3. Evenly sprinkle the cornstarch and pepper over the cherries and toss well.
  4. Mix together almonds, sugar, flour, cinnamon and cardamom; cut in butter till mixture is crumbly.
  5. Pour topping onto fruit.
  6. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes, or until fruit bubbles and topping is brown.


This is best served warm, with ice cream or whipped cream. Make it up any time during the day, put in the refrigerator, then bake just whenever you are motivated.

I was not so unmotivated that I could not find the energy to finish it.

Black Pepper Cherry Crisp


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don’t know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]” means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small ‘boom’ in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a “food blog” or even myself a “food blogger”.

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  1. I love all the names for these dishes – I think comforting food begets interesting names. I love the bite of black pepper with fruit. This recipe sounds like it’s worthy of one’s attention unmotivated or not.

  2. Oh, what a gorgeous dessert, Trevor! But I would have made a flummery 😉

  3. I think I’d want to choose hell for the opportunity to go to the supermarket twice a day, every day! Ooh, I love the sneakiness of the black pepper in any dessert…I’m pretty sure it perked up this cherry crisp even more. Btw, if this dessert was made when you were feeling unmotivated, I wonder what kinds of things you could possibly rustle up when you ARE motivated?!

  4. High end grocers with an endless variety are my favorite, but everyday run of the mill-not.
    You were really on the fence when it came to making this, glad you did not eat all the cherries. This looks really tasty for an unmotivated person!

  5. What a gorgeous looking crisp! And the addition of pepper sounds scrumptious. I just baked with pepper for the first time recently and was surprised by how much I loved it. I guess I need to try this one too now. Yum!

    Thank you for visiting my blog and the super kind words btw!

  6. Looks & sounds wonderful, Trevor!

  7. Sounds so delicious…love the addition of pepper!

  8. Those sound like fantastic flavors. The addition of black pepper is so wonderfully unexpected. Going to have to give this one a whirl!

  9. Your crisp looks just beautiful, those cherries so plump and I am so intrigued with the addition of black pepper! And that pic of the empty bowl is just as beautiful! Great post…I really enjoy your writing style as well! : )

  10. FABULOUS! I love flavor opposites – so adding black pepper to this is my idea of a good time! I wouldn’t call you “unmotivated” you’re more creative and go-with-the-flow! Right?!

  11. I adore these! When fruit falls into my basket (or lap) I tend to make a grunt. Just the one, though. What did you use those AA batteries for by the way? It’s driving me crazy.

  12. your crisp looks beautiful! now I’m tempted to try with black pepper!

  13. haha. I love the shot of the empty bowl. This would definitely happen at my house if I made this. Black pepper, what a great twist!

  14. This sounds totally fantastic and I’m so curious about the black pepper. We still have some late season cherries hanging around our local market so this is getting bookmarked for sure!

  15. This sounds like an intriguing dessert. I’m glad there are some checkout operators who actually take an interest in what they do.

  16. Sometimes, lazy or not, you’re just in the mood for a crisp and not a pie, crust versus crumble kind of a thing. That’s not to say that I’m pretty much always in the mood for a slice of pie and with cherries, now I wish I had leftover pie for breakfast but you wouldn’t hear me complaining about leftover cherry crisp either:-)

  17. Beautiful crisp. Black pepper? Talented writing voice 🙂

  18. Tattoo Girl says:

    Wow! I think I know who you are . . . actually I KNOW! & I know what you’re cooking tomorrow night!!!
    Never thought my chitter chatter could motivate someone to make such a delightful dessert!
    You need to bring me some of your “motivated” cooking or baking next time. It’s only right!