The Fruit Burglar and Chocolate Cherry Crisp

I live with a fruit thief. It’s not Sierra, and I’m not talking about the neighborhood possums. I tend to think of us as living near them, not with them. No. I’m talking about the adorable and deceptively innocent looking Diane.

Take a road-trip with her and you’ll see what I mean. On a quiet little drive through the countryside and happen to pass an ripe apple tree growing alongside the road, the car will be stopping. Then I will pry the fingernails off my thigh which caused the abrupt interruption, we will look around for witnesses, then climb through ditch and weeds to pluck the forbidden fruit.

She knows every calamansi and lime overgrowing the neighborhood walls in Little Saigon. And that cute little elderly Japanese man down the street growing peaches, figs, and apples, well… she’s almost picked that. So far I’ve been able to use “elder respect” to protect his fruit from her clutches, but if his kids ever take over, look out!

The city pickings are fun, but by far our favorite mark is the countryside fruit trees. The apple trees in Sonoma or Julian. Random fruit trees coming home from the Sierras. Avocado trees down by Fallbrook. And the prime score, the cherry trees in Northeastern Oregon.

Diane loves cherries. She gets all gushy over them in ways that even I don’t inspire in her. The first time we were up visiting my dad together, it took her a whole 5 seconds to spot a random cherry tree growing in the ditch turning towards Dad’s place. She immediately decided we needed to take a nighttime stroll that evening.

Every time we go visit, Diane is immediately scoping the joint. Are they ripe? Any new marks? What’s the flow of traffic? Did you bring the black clothing and bags? Cherries have never seen the same since teaming up with this little fruit burglar.

As with most fruit, our favorite way of getting rid of the evidence is to immediately eat the cherries. However, occasionally we’ll launder the goods by baking them. What better way, than with my all-time favorite country-style dessert, a crisp.

A perfect topping made with brown sugar, butter, flour and oats concealing the ill-gotten gains laced with dark chocolate chips. A Chocolate Cherry Crisp. This evidence won’t be around long.


Chocolate Cherry Crisp Recipe

Yield: Serves 8.

Cook Time: 45-55 minutes

Crisp topping based off of Apple Crisp - Martha Stewart Recipes.



  • 3/4 c (100g) all-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 c (50g) packed Light-Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 t (3g) Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • 8 T (1 stick) (115g) cold, unsalted Butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 c (90g) old-fashioned Rolled Oats (not quick-cooking)


  • 2 lbs fresh Cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 c (180g) Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 c (50g) Granular Sugar
  • 3 T (45g) Flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Pinch butter into flour, using your fingers or a pastry blender until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large, moist clumps form. Transfer to freezer to chill while you prepare filling.
  2. (If desired, set aside a handful of cherries to decorate the top of the crisp.) In another large bowl, toss cherries with chocolate chips, sugar and flour. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with topping mixture. Place reserved cherries to decorate top of crisp. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Source:

Hello! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission and do not re-publish this recipe. Simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Product Photography

    I like the way how photography is done here. All of the photos look stunning. Watching it really makes me hungry since I also love cherry.

  2. LaVaughn

    In the photos it looks like you used Bing cherries? Is that correct or should sour cherries be used. Looks delicious, so would love to make. Thanks

  3. Elana

    It was so great to get to attend Food & Light again this year and learn from you and Diane. This chocolate cherry crisp looks delicious –I’m going to attempt a gluten free version 🙂

  4. Cathy@What Would Cathy Eat?

    I know you guys might be skeptical, but I’ll be attempting a vegan version of this creation! I wouldn’t have thought of combining cherries and chocolate for a crisp filling. Can’t wait to try it.

  5. Jessica

    Chocolate and cherry is seriously one of the best combinations ever discovered! Your crisp looks amazing.

  6. Kevin (Closet Cooking)

    Adding chocolate to a cherry crisp is an amazing idea!

  7. Story

    I have also dreamed of many “midnight acquistions” of others’ fruit, but decide against them, for fear I will be caught. Love the photo; wonderful purple and red tones.

  8. whole food health

    A Chocolate Cherry Crisp recipe is looking simple and yummy.

  9. Kay @ The Church Cook

    Love this post! You had me smiling picturing your wife as a “fruit thief”! Learning so much from you both, recipes & photography are wonderful, thank you! Hope to attend one of your seminars one day.

  10. betty

    this looks delicios!

  11. David

    I’m a sucker for cherries – your food photography really does them justice!

  12. Brooke @ Food Woolf

    What a sweet love letter to Diane. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s about cherries, crisp, and obsession with sweet fruit (a handful of my favorite things)! Thanks for sharing that sweet, behind the scenes fruit-stealing story about Diane. Lovely.

  13. Jaro

    I must express a different opinion : while the dessert looks as enticing as they come it’s not always cool to poach fruit. We have a peach tree that is prolific. But we have only had the pleasure of cooking or giving away the peaches once in over 15 years. The fruit is stolen every time – the tree stripped. It might be a thrill to the poachers, but it feels mean spirited. If someone would ask most likely we’d offer up a handful. But taking someones harvest is nothing to crow about.

  14. chinmayie @ love food eat

    How I wish I had a HUGE bag full of cherries right now so that I can bake this!!
    Looks perfect… I love the colours and cherries with chocolates sounds divine!

  15. Sherry

    Growing up, we had several prolific fruit trees and they were always attacked by the neighborhood kids each summer. It wasn’t quite a pleasant experience, especially when they’re climbing over the chain link fence to get at our plums. If they had asked, we would have been glad to give them a bucketful since we really did get a ton every year but they seemed to like trespassing and destroying our tulips. Nowadays, I’m older and much more charitable (what can you do when they’re just little kids?) but at the time, I was very vexed and more than a little freaked out by the intrusion.

    On a brighter note, I actually live in on the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge and the cherries have finally ripened here! It’s always such a delight to get cherries as gifts from friends since we don’t have any trees of our own. Or when they invite us over to pick as many cherries as we like — that’s also quite awesome.

  16. Jeff @

    I love cherries and I love chocolates. What better way to enjoy them both at the same time than with chocolate cherry crisp recipe.

  17. Gastronomer

    Diane the fruit burglar! Great story telling, Todd!

  18. nicole

    Prior to my most recent move, my neighbor had bushes of blackberries along his driveway. I asked him if he was nervous about people taking them since they were in his front yard. He said that is why he kept him there. I think Diane would have loved his sharing approach to his fruit.

  19. Yelena

    Love your photos! The BEST!

  20. Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles

    I confess. I admit to fruit thievery (at times and when possibly appropriate). I even have specified seasonal routes through my neighborhood to hit up various seemingly abandoned fruit trees that ripen in certain months and just “happen” to overhang a fence into what might be construed as a public place. When no ones looking of course 🙂

  21. Jenna

    hahaha i wish i was brave enough to steal amazing looking fruit every time i see it! 🙂 this looks stunning and worth the risk of getting caught. who wouldn’t love the addition of chocolate!?! yum!

  22. Kiran @

    This looks so delicious! Bet it would so tasty as toppings for oats. Any single day 🙂

  23. Ms. T

    Great post! I can relate as I’ve been burgling blackberries all over the neighborhood lately. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I make fruit crisps all the time, but have never ventured into the chocolate territory…sounds brilliant.

  24. Pam the Potter

    I too love to surf the neighborhood for the old forgotten fruit vines, bushes and trees in the homes owned by a 3rd or 4th generation. Often, they don’t eat that fruit because it doesn’t look like the ones from the big box grocery. I love to can and just finished 24 jars of fig preserves, 12 jars of Pear Jam, 12 jars of Pear Jelly and 10 jars of Fig Jelly( Pesky little seeds!!!). Wish I had access to such plentiful cherries. Not too many of those tress here near Atlanta, Georgia.

  25. Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane

    Diane has a long-lost fruit burglar sister in Northern CA. With all the local garden shares, it feels as if I’m saving my neighbors any extra work by taking some off their hands a couple days early. Chocolate and cherry — does a better combination exist? I think not.

  26. RWCFoodie

    Brings back memories of my long departed maternal Grandmother – road trips tpically involved a pillow slip and walnuts…

  27. Urban Wife

    Perfect timing – we just bought a pound of fresh sweet cherries. I can’t wait to make this crisp – I love how simple the ingredient list is. 🙂

  28. Tengo un horno y sé cómo usarlo

    OHHHH That looks incredible! (and I have that same pit remover ¿? thing) And I also have some cherries left…
    I will try this for sure.
    Hugs from Spain

  29. Carolyn Binder

    Too cute. I can just picture the two of you, Pink Panther music playing in the background…LOL!

  30. Deeba Rajpal (@vindee)

    I am completely mesmerised with this… it’s won my heart. We are way past cherry season here. I am tempted to try this with plums. Oh the colours … wow!

  31. alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    This is a great post, and I could dive right in that crisp! Yum!

  32. Yadi @ShopCookMake

    This post made me laugh. i can just picture her climbing fences just to steal a piece of fruit. The dish looks delicious too!

  33. Bev Weidner

    Deaaaar goodness, I could take a nap inside that thing. YUM.

  34. TheKitchenWitch

    I wrote a tribute to cherries this season, too. I’m with Diane. So worth stealing. You had me at “The Fruit Burglar.”

  35. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups

    Cherries are so delicious. If there was an abundance growing near me, they wouldn’t be safe either.

  36. lynn @ the actor's diet

    cherries n chocolate. what could be better? it’s why i’m obsessed with cherry garcia!

  37. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)

    This looks sooo good!

    I love cherries. They are summer’s magic! I always eat them as-is rather than baking with them b/c 1. they are just too good and I never actually get to needing to “use them up” by baking something and 2. I hate de-pitting them!

    But oh I love me a good crumble/cobbler. This looks awesome!

    And I am in Boulder! See you in the morning!

  38. Renee

    That looks amazing! And with chocolate noless! I love cherries too and have been making cherry turnovers quite frequently lately, but without the luck of the pitter. Have to get one of those tools. It would make the task so much easier!

Leave a Reply