Running a dual nationality household isn’t all fun and games. I mean, sure, you get extra holidays (Guy Fawkes AND Thanksgiving, Christmas AND Boxing Day) but there are some annoyances too. When our kids want to play football, I get the pigskin and LSU jerseys while Nick picks up a soccer ball and teaches them how to dive. Friends coming over for drinks and snacks? Nick opens a bag of potato chips and dumps them in a bowl. I spend $137 at St. James Cheese putting together a casual cheese and meat spread. And don’t even get us started on Sunday Dinner. Turns out Nick’s version of a Sunday Roast isn’t quite the same as my good old Southern Roast and Rice and Gravy. These are serious traditions and serious people say serious things when you start messing around with someone else’s Sunday Roast recipes.
Fortunately, for most of our relationship these cultural differences are endearing. Fortunately, also, many things are universal — even if they go by different names. The best and most recent discovery is that both Nick and I share a fondness for (read: would gladly cover our bodies in) warm baked fruit things with sugar-flour-oat-butter toppings. He calls it crumble, I call it crisp, but deep down inside they are the exact same thing.
Which leads me to a very, very happy discovery: Pear, Apple, Cranberry Crisp.
What makes this such a happy discovery is that it is full of things I already have on hand: It is the holiday “season” so sweet spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger etc…) are already sitting out on my counter calling my name. We aren’t exactly over endowed with fresh fruits at the moment so apples and pears just seem to always be on hand. Furthermore, what kind of friend would I be if I weren’t trying to make a cranberry spice simple syrup for a special holiday cocktail? A crappy one. That’s what I’d be. So you can definitely find cranberries at my house in November. The next step was throwing them all together to see if magic would happen – and it did!
There are not many ingredients in this recipe so, as usual, it is important to use the best ones you can. Make sure your apples are crisp and tangy, your pears have not gone past their prime (they can taste a little rotten and rancid if they have) and use fresh, unsalted butter. Nothing that has been sitting in your refrigerator making out with the blue cheese and bacon. You can make the crumble topping a day in advance to make your life a little easier if you want to assemble and bake this for guests. Also, you can use a standing mixer with the paddle attachment instead of your fingers for the crumble topping – just don’t overprocess.
That’s about it. The recipe is fantastic and if my experience is anything to go by your phone and Facebook will both be blowing up with inquiries, then kind requests, and then a threat or two if you aren’t forthcoming with the recipe.
- 3 ripe pears (any variety)
- 4 ripe, crisp red apples (a mixture of Honeycrisp, Macoun and/or Empire)
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup quick oats or old fashioned oats (not instant, not steel cut)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, diced small
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C and butter bottom and sides of 10-inch square baking dish.
- Peel and core apples and pears. Cut each piece of fruit into 12 fairly equal pieces. Toss into a large mixing bowl. Add the fresh and dried cranberries and lemon juice. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, zest and nutmeg on top and mix well using two large wooden spoons or rubber spatulas. Pour into prepared square baking dish.
- Add all crisp topping ingredients to a medium mixing bowl. Toss together well with your hands. Using your fingers, pinch the butter together with the dry ingredients for about two minutes. When finished spread the oat crisp topping over the fruit.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Serve while warm!