Strawberries are pretty much the best, aren’t they? They are so special that there is a Cherokee legend about the first strawberries. The story goes like this. The First Man and the First Woman on Earth have an argument. Upset, the Woman leaves and heads out towards the forest. The Man takes off after her but she is already too far ahead. The Man pleads to the Creator that he do something to slow the Woman down so that he can catch up. Along the Woman’s path, the Creator places berries of all kinds – blackberries, huckleberries, gooseberries. She doesn’t pause to look at any of them. The Creator then places the first strawberry plants along her route and she stops to take in the beautiful leaves and berries. She tastes one, then another. She continues to eat the sweet berries and her anger towards the Man melts away. The Woman gathered up as many strawberries as she could and started home, reuniting with the Man on the path back.
I can pretty much relate to the allure of the strawberry. They’ve been a staple around here for the last few weeks as evidenced by my strawberry rhubarb sorbet and double chocolate chip cookies with strawberry-coconut cream. I can’t say strawberries have helped smooth over any of our disagreements (what disagreements?!), but they sure make the spring and summer months a little sweeter.
This crisp displays strawberries in all their juicy glory and makes for an easy grain-free and vegan dessert. The crisp topping is a blend of almond meal and chopped hazelnuts, a delicious compliment to the fruit below. I used sucanat to sweeten the crisp, but I think coconut sugar would make a great unrefined sugar substitute in this recipe. Served warm with coconut whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and you’ve a good thing going.
- 3 pints strawberries (about 6 cups), hulled and halved, large ones quartered
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sucanat*
- 2½ cups almond meal/flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup chopped hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need a 2 quart baking dish.
- In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, ½ cup of the sucanat, 1 cup of the almond meal, salt, lemon zest, and pure vanilla extract until evenly combined. Transfer to baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, combine coconut oil, hazelnuts, and remaining 3 tablespoons of sucunat and 1½ cups almond meal. Sprinkle over the filling in baking dish.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or coconut whipped cream for an extra treat!
*Coconut sugar would work well as an unrefined substitute for sucanat.