round the cherry tree

Last year we pretty much missed the cherry season with our tree because we were away and the birds made off with all the fruit. this year I was determined not to let the birds get them all - so as the fruit emerged, every day I carefully watched them turn pink and red and blushing. we had our first picking a few days ago... the cherries themselves are on the mildly sweet side but they are juicy and a delicious red colour. I have many cherry-related cooking experiments planned both savoury and sweet. the recipe below is my take on a cherry slice with a soft, buttery wholewheat base, juicy filling, and a crumbly top with oats and chopped almonds. I think you'll like it a lot.

~ cherry and almond slice ~
2 cups pitted fresh cherries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
**optional** 1 teaspoon almond liqueur

6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups plain wholewheat flour

1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup plain flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
Make the filling:  cook cherries, sugar, lemon juice, flour, cinnamon and liqueur on low heat  until mixture begins to bubble, then turn heat to low and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer filling to a bowl and let cool while you make the crust.
Make the crust: Line a deep baking tray or tin with paper, leaving enough to hang over the edge and act as handles to remove bars after baking. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (you can use an electric mixer but I just use a wooden spoon and some good ole fashion elbow grease). Add egg and mix to combine. Add flour mixture and mix to combine. Transfer the dough into the prepared pan and gently press into the bottom and just 1/4 inch up the sides of the pan using with your fingertips. 
Make the topping: combine sugar, flour, oats and salt and mix to combine. Add butter and mix with your fingertips until crumbly and the butter pieces are very small. Now mix in your chopped almonds.
Preheat oven to 190'c (350F). Spread cooled cherry filling evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the filling. Bake for about 35 minutes until the top layer is golden.Cool completely on wire rack before removing. Enjoy!