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.