The past week I have been pretty ridiculously ill. A flu has really consumed me. A fever of 1-0-2, dizzy, chilly, hot, sweaty, puk- you get the point … I felt like hell. All of that aside Stephen had a business trip this week and business doesn’t hold for dying wives. (Okay I exaggerate, but only a little.) Wednesday was CSA day, the fridge and pantry were really kind of barren. To hold off a grocery haul the boys and myself made our way to the farm store. To my delight husk cherries were in!
I’ve only heard of these jewels being called husk cherries, the CSA email read “ground cherries.” (I now know that varieties and names vary from here to there, but popular names are: Husk Cherry, cape gooseberry, ground cherry, golden strawberry and Chinese lantern.) I will admit my first thought was some bizarre black cherry that grows in a low bush. Seeing that I grew up on the standard American diet, ground cherries and many other (unfortunately) out of fashion varieties of produce were not on our plates. If it wasn’t in small town USA grocery marts, I didn’t eat it. Last year at Trailhead (the old CSA that is no longer in business) I tried these little gems for the first time.
The flavor is savory and tart like a tomato but sweet like many fruits. I find it to be similar to a melon, grape or apple but there is a faint sweetness and acidity reminiscent to pineapple. These can be used in salads, sweets, or any dishes where a tomato, grape (focaccia!), apple or berry would be used. Heidi suggested a pie, which sounds GREAT but one: although I have reintroduced more sugars and grains I still try to avoid them the vast majority of the time, two: I really hate making pie crust. Upon extensive research, ahem *Googling* I decided that jam seems to be a really popular way to stock up husk cherries but a cobbler or crisp was really the way I wanted to go. I needed this cobbler and it really hit the spot. Riley insisted the funny tomatoes were weird and that he wouldn’t eat them, three bowls later I think I won his approval… secretly of course.
I grabbed about a pound of husk cherries, once hulled and picked at by little bit and myself I had about two cups left. You can use an additional cup or two of husk cherries instead of apples however the apples add a little extra sweetness, also they help to prevent the crisp from being too wet. Use regular wheat flour, or any dry sweetener you would like. As a general rule for many recipes I have found almond meal and regular flour to swap out fairly easily. This is a good example of that. Use softened or melted butter, use more or less sweetener to your taste. But most importantly Enjoy!
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
In a bowl combine peeled husk cherries, sugar, pie spice and arrowroot. Toss to combine and pour into a pie plate or 2 quart baking dish.
For the topping combine softened or melted butter with almond flower, sugar, flax and a pinch of salt. Crumble this mixture over top of the apple and husk cherry combo.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the top is browned and the crisp is bubbling. Allow to cool 20-30 minutes previous to serving. It will thicken as it rests.
Pie Spice- I don’t normally buy mixed spices but Mountain Rose Herbs has an amazing pie spice mixture that is similar to nothing in any store. It is fresh and stronger than most spices. Use just a little of pie spice, but not too much. Husk cherries have a very delicate and subtle flavor that you do not want to over power with spices.
I have used this recipe as my go-to cobbler/crisp recipe. I have made fresh strawberry and berry crisp with absolutely no sweetener at all. Use apples, berries, or even tomatoes with this recipe for a sweet or not sweet treat.
Try These Ground Cherry Recipes!!!