Monday, November 17, 2008

A Perfect Pearing

I am inexperienced with pears. I'm fairly clueless about how to tell when they're ripe, so I've had some hard, crunchy pears and some squishy mealy pears, neither of which is an incentive to buy more pears. But I persist because a pear that is perfect, juicy, yielding, and smooth, is beyond compare.

With my chirpy optimism firmly in place I bought a bag of pears at Costco. If you shop at Costco you know that's a serious amount of pears. When I was unloading my Costco haul my family looked curiously at the bag and asked, "What are you going to do with that?" Well, duh. Bake!

I have several recipes lined up to try and I'll bake till the pears run out or go runny.

At first I thought I'd make an apple, pear pie that sounded scrumptious. It still sounds scrumptious and depending on how the supply holds out, I might still make it, but this crumble sounded waaaay easier to make. And it, too is scrumptious. Somewhat surprisingly, though, the predominant flavor is orange. If you like orange and cranberry together, you will adore this. If you don't like orange flavor, I'd suggest leaving out the orange zest and swapping out the orange juice for apple or pear juice.

Pear, Apple, & Cranberry Crisp
- adapted from Barefoot Contessa At Home by Ina Garten

2 lbs ripe Bosc pears (I used Bartlett), about 4 pears
2 lbs firm Macoun apples (I used Fuji), about 4-6 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 tsp ground nutmeg

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced

1- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. with a rack centered in the oven.

2- Peel and core the pears and apples and cut them into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl with the dried cranberries and the zests. In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour and spices. Sprinkle the fruit juices over the fruits, then toss the fruit with sugar mixture. Pour into a 9 x 12-inch baking dish. (If you don't have one, a 9x 13-inch would be fine.)

3- For the topping, combine all the dry ingredients in either a mixer bowl or a food processor bowl. Add the butter and either stir with paddle attachment on low for 1 to 2 minutes, or process with several pulses until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle the crumbles evenly over the fruit, covering it completely.

4- Place the baking dish on a sheet pan (lined with parchment paper if you like, for easier clean up). Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm. A drizzle of cream or a dollop of good vanilla ice cream would pair nicely with it.


Lucy said...

Ahhh you really can never beat crumble! Looks yummy x

Snooky doodle said...

wow i ve never tried a crumble with all these fabolous fruit so far only apple. Looks fantastic :)

JohannaB said...

Sounds wonderful. I love pears. I see a shopping trip in my future...

VeggieGirl said...

I'm the same way with pears, no worries - but hey, your dessert looks perfect!! :-)

Bunny Trails said...

Ditto on the pear front - but these look divine! I love a good crumble and never would have thought of this combo.


Melinda said...

It so true about pears. It reminds me of Eddie Izzard's stand up about fruit. I love his take on pears ripening. (Link below. He does use the F word- just warning you.)
Your pear crisp sounds lovely for winter time. I look forward to pie time even more!

Sarah said...

This looks so yummy! My MIL made a pear apple tart (only needed to make the bottom crust!) last night & it was pretty delicious. I never buy pears but I'll have to be on the lookout for some good ones to try this crumble!

Bellini Valli said...

We have at least 3 different varieties of pears available to us i our is worth experimenting:D

CookiePie said...

That looks delicious! Crumbles/crisps are the best!!

Brilynn said...

Pittsburgh Eated just made a pear pie that I thought looked awfully good!
And I made poached pears recently, (although I haven't gotten around to posting about them yet). So there are 2 more pear suggestions for you!

Aimée said...

I wouldn't change a thing, Lynn. Orange, cranberry, pear= yum! Sadly, my pears are only good for baby food by now, tooooo brown!

kickpleat said...

i really really don't like pears one bit, so i think i'll just stick with apples and cranberries. looks perfectly comforting!

eatme_delicious said...

Wow good for you for taking on a giant bag of pears! I look forward to seeing what you make with them. There's this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens for a poached pear that then has a pastry dough wrapped around it. If you want the recipe I can email it to you (email me and let me know).

Deborah said...

I only started liking pears a year or two ago. But this crumble sounds delicious!

Jacque said...

Pears just don't get enough credit, if you ask me.

Your crisp looks and sounds wonderful!

patio said...

What is it with us? I just bought a box of Costco pears. I can smell they are ripe -- just put them in the cupboard and when they smell like pears when you open the door they're good to go. I was thinking pear tart from Dorie's "Baking." The crumble looks way good, too.

Sandy said...

Mmm, I love apples and pears combined. I might even make my no-peel apple/pear cake today!