Chocolate & Sour Cherry Crumble

I’m not much of a dessert eater – I’d rather spend my calories on savory foods – but this recipe really stuck with me after I first spotted it in Delia’s Happy Christmas, and thought that it would be perfect for holiday dining. Plus, who can screw up a crumble!

So many crumbles are made with apples or peaches, and they do nothing for me. Honestly, I’d rather eat an apple or peach as is. But this recipe utilizes dried sour cherries and chocolate.

One reason I wanted to make this crumble is because I knew I could. Everyone knows I’m no baker. If you have seen the results of my gingerbread house attempts – and these were from kits – you’d believe me! This crumble was easy and straight forward.

From Ms. Delia: “If you are a chocolate lover – or a crumble lover – this is a truly sublime combination of the two. It’s rich, luscious and perfect for a celebration. Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream, crème fraiche or my own favorite, chilled pouring cream.”

Well I discovered after making this, that it’s called a crumble because it crumbles! Even with 5 egg yolks. I wish I’d made a crème Anglaise to go with it.

Chocolate and Sour Cherry Crumble

4.4 ounces sweetened sour cherries
2.5 ounces brandy

Custard Base:
19 ounces double cream
2.6 ounces cocoa powder
5 egg yolks
1.7 ounces white sugar
1 desertspoon corn flour

1.4 ounces cold butter, diced
2.1 ounces self-raising flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1.7 ounces Demerara sugar
2.6 ounces whole almonds

Cocoa powder
1 tablespoon edible red or gold iridescent sugar sparkles

Begin by putting the cherries and brandy in a small saucepan and bring it just up to simmering point, then turn off the heat and leave them to soak and plump up for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream and cocoa together in a medium-sized saucepan until blended and smooth then place it over a medium heat, bring it up to simmering point, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 10 minutes.

Now, in a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour then, still whisking pour the hot chocolate cream over the yolks. When it is all in, immediately return the mixture to the saucepan and, over a gentle heat, whisk again until it just reaches simmering point and has thickened. When it’s ready, stir in the soaked cherries and any brandy, pour the whole lot into a baking dish and leave to cool completely.

Place the butter, flour, cocoa and sugar in a processor and give it a whiz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the almonds and process again until they are fairly finely chopped but still have a few chunky bits.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Now sprinkle the crumble on to the cold chocolate custard, pressing it down lightly. Bake on the center shelf of the oven for 35 minutes. When it’s cooked, take it out and leave it to stand for 10 minutes.

Serve dusted with cocoa powder and with sugar sparkles, if using.

The chocolate flavor was excellent; I love baking with cocoa. The almonds and cherries didn’t offer much overall. I’m kind of on the fence about this recipe.

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 6:35 AM - Reply

    It tasted very good! I just wasn’t enamored with the texture.

  2. Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 8:14 AM - Reply

    No, the custard was easy, even for me. Just be really gradual when you mix the egg yolks into the hot mixture. Otherwise, it was a piece of cake!

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen December 7, 2023 at 10:55 AM - Reply

    This does look lovely, and I agree that a bit of custard might be just right here.

    • Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 3:56 PM - Reply

      Yes indeedy. However, I could put custard on shoe soles and enjoy them!

  4. Sherry Mackay December 7, 2023 at 1:40 PM - Reply

    this is such an interesting crumble; i’ve never heard of a version like this. I agree about using apples; much better to have this combo of sour cherries and cocoa.

    • Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 3:57 PM - Reply

      It’s a nice combination. he cherry flavor just didn’t come through, surprisingly.

  5. Raymund December 7, 2023 at 3:48 PM - Reply

    I can see why this recipe caught your eye! The combination of chocolate and sour cherries sounds absolutely decadent, and I’m not surprised you were tempted to give it a try even if you’re not much of a baker. I love the simplicity of the crumble topping and the richness of the chocolate custard base

    • Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 4:00 PM - Reply

      All of the elements were fabulous, I just didn’t end up liking the unique texture!

  6. Charlie DeSando December 7, 2023 at 3:54 PM - Reply

    Great looking cherry dessert. We’ll have to get you some Michigan Cherries to use

    • Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 4:00 PM - Reply

      Oh, I’ve used them!!! And had fresh ones.

  7. Debra December 7, 2023 at 6:24 PM - Reply

    I’m not a big dessert eater, either, but I need recipes that are good for entertaining. This time of year, in particular, I am always looking for something a little different. This is so appealing to me!

    • Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 7:49 PM - Reply

      Well then I hope you try it. The flavors are good, it was just the crumbly texture that I didn’t get!

  8. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats December 7, 2023 at 6:55 PM - Reply

    The combination of chocolate and cherries is always wonderful.
    This is the first crumble I’ve seen that requires preparing a custard. Interesting!

    • Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 7:50 PM - Reply

      Those Brits, right?!! Kidding. It’s an interesting recipe!

  9. Chef Mimi December 7, 2023 at 7:49 PM - Reply

    Thanks Velva! It’s just the texture that I didn’t love!

  10. Tandy | Lavender and Lime December 7, 2023 at 9:54 PM - Reply

    I love chocolate and cherries but I’m giving this one a miss. I want to taste the cherries if I’m going to splurge on them.

    • Chef Mimi December 8, 2023 at 8:31 AM - Reply

      I completely agree with you!

  11. spicedblog December 8, 2023 at 6:28 AM - Reply

    Those brandy-soaked cherries alone sound amazing! (I wonder if I can use bourbon instead?) Chocolate + cherries always reminds me of the holidays, and this looks like it’s perfect for holiday entertaining. Cheers!!

    • Chef Mimi December 8, 2023 at 8:31 AM - Reply

      Oh sure, I think you could use anything to soak the cherries. Enjoy!

  12. David Scott Allen December 8, 2023 at 1:02 PM - Reply

    I have to admit that I was very surprised to see a dessert here on your site! But your explanation is perfect… Normally, I am not a fan of chocolate and cherries together. Black forest cake is one of my least favorite things! However, marinating the (dried) cherries as you have done, takes them to a completely different level. I am totally in to give this a shot for the holidays! Thanks, David (C & L)

    • Chef Mimi December 8, 2023 at 6:27 PM - Reply

      I know! Desserts are very few and far between! I’m just glad I discovered Delia Smith. I like her Christmas cookbook.

  13. Chef Mimi December 8, 2023 at 6:28 PM - Reply

    If I can make a crumble, so can you! Believe me.

  14. nancyc December 8, 2023 at 9:35 PM - Reply

    This sounds so good—rich and chocolatey with that great tart cherry flavor! A great dessert for the holidays! :)

    • Chef Mimi December 9, 2023 at 9:19 AM - Reply

      It’s very festive for sure!!!

  15. Jeff the Chef December 10, 2023 at 12:00 PM - Reply

    You should’ve led with “brandy,” because now I’m all in. I admire you and everything you cook, which makes the way we differ all the more interesting. I could eat apple crisp every day for the rest of my life and be eternally happy! Chocolate and I are on good terms, but we’re not best friends. But my husband could (and almost does, sometimes it seems) live on chocolate alone, so this is a recipe I’ll keep in my back pocket.

    • Chef Mimi December 11, 2023 at 1:10 PM - Reply

      Ha! I’m just not a dessert eater. As someone who always has weight to lose, you’d think I desserts every day! No, it’s cheese. Great, stinky cheese. So I’m not against fruit desserts, I just like fruits. Especially served with cheese!

  16. Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina December 11, 2023 at 6:07 AM - Reply

    Since I love both chocolate and cherries, this would be a huge winner! Happy Christmas season to you, Mimi!!

    • Chef Mimi December 11, 2023 at 1:10 PM - Reply

      Thank you, Roz! Merry Christmas!

  17. Eva Taylor December 11, 2023 at 8:30 AM - Reply

    The Hungarians make many things with sour cherries but I must admit I have not seen many recipes from other nationalities. I know we would love this. I have a bag of sour cherries in the freezer, I will review the other ingredients to see if I have everything to make a batch of this tasty treat.

    • Chef Mimi December 11, 2023 at 1:12 PM - Reply

      The Russians, as well! Sour cherries are fabulous. When dried they definitely become sweeter. And they’re so versatile! Hope you enjoy this crumble!

  18. StefanGourmet December 11, 2023 at 1:49 PM - Reply

    Looks like baking to me! I love the combination of chocolate, cherries, and almonds, but would prefer something with a more creamy texture.

  19. Tanu Oberoi December 18, 2023 at 8:46 AM - Reply

    This Chocolate & Sour Cherry Crumble recipe sounds like a delightful treat for the holidays! 🍫🍒 It’s great to hear that it’s easy and straightforward to make, even for those of us who may not be expert bakers.

    The combination of sweetened sour cherries and chocolate must create a wonderful balance of flavors, and the idea of serving it warm with vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche is making my mouth water. 😋

    It’s also interesting to learn the origins of the name “crumble” – it makes sense that it crumbles, but the addition of custard or crème Anglaise would certainly take it to the next level of indulgence!

    Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. Happy baking! 🍰🎉

    • Chef Mimi December 18, 2023 at 2:06 PM - Reply

      I’m definitely not a baker. I don’t really enjoy the precision of baking, plus I don’t eat sweets. But i do like trying new and different dishes, and this was fun!

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