Saturday, October 31, 2009

Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Crisp

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love everything about it - the cooler temperatures, the beautiful foliage, pulling my beloved sweaters out of their summertime hiding places… I especially love the warm and cozy foods that seem to be a perfect match with fall weather. Pumpkins, apples, soups – you name it, I’m probably dreaming about eating it!

Most importantly, when the leaves change colors and the air gets crisp, there is nothing better than spending time with family and friends, indoors or out. This recipe in particular was made for a special dinner with friends. I wanted to make something fruity and full of the best of fall’s flavors. Apples and pears for sweetness and fresh cranberries for pops of tart juiciness – what could be better? This recipe adds citrus juice and zest for brightness and has a crispy, crumbly topping that is just begging for a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go on top. Give in to temptation. It’s worth it.

(Word to the wise: do not be tempted, as I was, to try a raw cranberry just to see what it tastes like. It does not taste like cranberry juice or dried cranberries or cooked cranberries. It is not at all pleasant and may very well have you spitting it out into the sink!)

Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Crisp
Adapted from Ina Garten

For the Filling:
2 lbs ripe pears (3 or 4 pears), peeled and cut into large chunks
2 lbs McIntosh apples (6-8 apples), peeled and cut into large chunks
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 tsp. salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the fruits in a large bowl and toss with the zests, juices, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Pour into a large baking dish.

In another bowl, add the flour, sugars, oats, butter and salt. Combine thoroughly until the mixture forms large crumbles. (Ina recommended using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. I used my hands – it was just as quick and did not dirty any extra dishes.)

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.

Place the baking dish on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly.

Serve warm – preferably with vanilla ice cream.

Serves at least 8.

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