herbed pear and cranberry crisp
Emily was very busy yesterday. She took the ACT for college admittance in the morning and then spent the afternoon and evening helping my cousin, Katrina, bake all of her holiday cookies. We are talking a serious amount of baking — 45 dozen cookies! At least eight different kinds! She makes them for friends and family, shares them with her office and has several holiday gift orders.
I am one of her dessert devotees. She turns out beautiful cookies and such a variety that you just have to try each one. Hello, browned-butter shortbread! I appreciate her skill and tenacity. Cookies are not my strong suit. It’s not that I can’t make them, I can. I have. I do. They just aren’t high on my list. I like to put something in the oven, pull it out and be done. Even though cookie dough usually comes together in twenty minutes — it’s the next two hours spent next to a hot oven that turns me off.
No, when I make a dessert, I prefer one that comes together simply and bakes without having to hover at the oven, awaiting the perfect golden brown. Cookies require attention.
So, yesterday, while Em and Katrina were up to their necks in dough, I made something decidedly less taxing — this herbed pear and cranberry crisp.
I know what you’re thinking. Herbs? With a fruit crisp? Yes. The pine-scented rosemary and lemony thyme, from the farmer’s market, really complement the sweet/tart fruit. A scoop of vanilla would send this over the top!
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter diced, chilled
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
- 1/2 cup rolled oatmeal
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 5 pears peeled, cored, diced
- juice of one lemon
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot
- 1 tablespoon water
In a medium bowl combine first 6 ingredients and whisk to combine.
Add diced butter and work with your fingers to incorporate ingredients to a sandy consistency. To check for the right consistency, pick up a small handful and make a fist -- crisp should clump together, but also easily break apart.
Add thyme, oatmeal and walnuts and mix to thoroughly combine.
Chill in the refrigerator while you make the fruit filling.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray and 8x8" baking dish with vegetable spray. Set aside.
Put the diced pears into a large bowl. Toss them with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
Add the cranberries, brown sugar and thyme. Toss to combine.
In a small bowl mix together the arrow root and water. Pour over the fruit and toss to combine.
Transfer the fruit mixture to the baking dish and spread the crisp mixture evenly over the fruit.
Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet covered with foil to catch any spills.
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
From wikipedia: Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels, is used in cooking to produce a clear, thickened sauce, such as a fruit sauce. It will not make the sauce go cloudy, like cornstarch, flour or other starchy thickening agents would.
However, if you don't have arrowroot - you can substitute cornstarch.