Pear, Cranberry, and Apple Crisp
December 5, 2012 § 1 Comment
Although cranberry sauce isn’t my favorite part of Thanksgiving, it’s certainly safe to say that without it, Thanksgiving dinner would just be another meal of meat and potatoes—at least as far as I’m concerned. My mom makes cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries, oranges, and lemon zest—it’s more lively and distinct than the muddled, slightly dirty flavor of the canned stuff (sacrilege!). When I was in college, I studied, one fall semester, in Paris, and our program director held Thanksgiving dinner at his apartment. I ferreted out a bag of fresh cranberries, which are uncommon in France (and probably most of Europe, though I haven’t checked) from a small American-food-store in the Marais—the store also sold peanut butter, boxed macaroni and cheese, and marshmallows. The bag cost me nearly 12 American dollars, which was a lot for a broke college student struggling with a less-than-friendly exchange rate, but in my mind it was worth it: I would have cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving.
Around 10 o’clock on Thanksgiving night, I was still traipsing around some unknown part of Paris, no minutes left on my pay-as-you-go phone, not a single cab willing to give me a ride anywhere (“But it’s Thanksgiving!” doesn’t have much effect on Parisian cab drivers, turns out), and decidedly put out. I had written down the wrong address and initially had ended up, plastic bowl full of cranberry sauce in hand, in front of a long-ago closed locksmith’s.
The whole thing was very disappointing, I’ll say that much. I finally did make it to the director’s apartment, though most of the meal was gone and people were mostly lounging on the couches, basking in the post-meal haze. I had a plate of pie and cranberry sauce.
This is sort of a transitional dessert (or breakfast, depending on its accompaniment). It’s a week or two after Thanksgiving, but I’m certainly not yet ready to give up the cranberries, and it takes full advantage of wintery pears, cinnamon, and ginger. It’s also very, very easy, and looks pretty enough in a bowl to bring to a party.
I’ve adapted the recipe from several different sources: Ina Garten, Martha Stewart, and Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen all have versions. This one features ginger and cinnamon, and some cornstarch to thicken the fruit juices. Make sure your pears are ripe (almost gushy) so that they soften enough during baking. For breakfast, serve with yogurt. For dessert, serve with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Pear, Cranberry, and Apple Crisp (makes about 8-9 servings, depending on your appetite)
4 bartlett pears, sliced
1 golden delicious apple, sliced
about 2 c fresh cranberries
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1 t vanilla
1/4 c cornstarch
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 c flour (I used whole wheat because it’s what I had on hand—this worked nicely, I thought, and the whole-wheatiness was pretty undetectable)
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1 c rolled oats
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
In a 9×12 in baking dish, combine the fruit, sprinkling the lemon juice and vanilla on top. In a separate bowl, combine the sugars, salt, and cornstarch. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the fruit and toss to combine.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients for the filling, and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Drizzle in the butter and mix until thoroughly combined. The mixture should be crumbly, and will hold together if pressed.
Cover the fruit with the oatmeal topping, and place the dish in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or as long as it takes for the juices to bubble through the top. May be served directly out of the oven.