Saturday, September 26, 2009

Apple, Pear and Cranberry Crisp

Sometimes a recipe comes along that requires zero improvement. That is the case with this one, which I found on the Food Network website. It is an Ina Garten original. Though I don't enjoy watching her show, The Barefoot Contessa, I did enjoy this recipe in all of its beautiful simplicity. The tartness of the apples, the sweetness of the pears, the little sour red nuggets of unexpected cranberry -- it melds on the fork and in the mouth for the perfect embodiment of an autumnal evening.
The recipe is a cinch to put together if you have an apple corer-peeler-slicer gadget. I can't imagine creating this recipe without one. Enjoy!

Apple, Pear and Cranberry Crisp
2 pounds ripe Bosc pears (4 pears)
2 pounds firm Macoun apples (6 apples)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel, core and cut the pears and apples into large chunks and place in a large bowl. Add dried cranberries.
3. In a separate small bowl, combine the zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over fruit and toss until coated. Pour into a 9-by-12-by 2-inch baking dish.
4. For the topping, combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, oatmeal and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
5.  Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit
is bubbly. Serve warm.

Substitution Suggestions: I couldn't find Macoun apples (pronounced MacCowan), but Granny Smiths will work just fine. The tartness nicely juxtaposes the sweetness of the pears.

Lessons Learned: Instead of cooking this in a casserole dish, I packed the apple mixture into foil muffin cup liners (paper liners will not work because of the juices) and topped each individual serving with the crumb topping. Aside from requiring a little extra care to get the cups out of the muffin pans, it was the perfect small serving at a dessert potluck. I wanted individual, stand-alone foil cups, but was out of luck after searching three grocery stores, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma. If you cook this in individual servings, whether with liners or in ramekins, it only requires 30 minutes of cooking as opposed to the casserole's 50 minutes.
There is one very small addition to Ina's original recipe. I added some cinnamon to the crumb topping. It just seemed wrong to leave it out.

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