You can always tell Holiday "Food Seasons” are upon us, when the produce sections in our local grocery stores start carrying more butternut and acorn squash, different varieties of sweet potatoes and yams, and the pièce de resistance…. Fresh cranberries.
Today there was a large center trough laden with bags and bags of fresh cranberries at my local grocer.
Pears are also abundant this time of year... pears and apples actually. I mean, they’re abundant year round but they are especially flavorful and bright during the fall season. So I figured I had to do something. Something delicious!
I’m sure I have had a cranberry-pear "something" in my day. Maybe even a Cranberry Pear Crisp in my day, as it just came to me while seeing all the delicious goods in the produce section my grocer had laid out. So I took a stab at it.. and man, was I glad I did!
Keep this recipe and file it away in your holiday section. It definitely is a keeper! Enjoy!
Ingredients: Serves 5-6 big eaters
12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
2-3 firm and ripe Bosc pears
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, microplaned
1/2 vanilla bean, split
2 cups water
Lightly whipped (pourable) and sweetened heavy cream.
For The Crisp Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whole oats
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed (plus 2 tablespoons)
- Place the cranberries in a large nonreactive pot. Add the sugar, split vanilla bean, lemon zest, and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the berries have popped and are tender. About 20 minutes.
- Peel, cut in half and scoop out the center seed area of each pear. Slice thick then dice thick. You will need about 2 full cups of diced pear.
- After the cranberries have softened and the mixture is becoming thick, remove the vanilla bean and scrape out the caviar. Add back to the compote along with the pears. Stir around to coat and combine the pears in along with the vanilla.
- Set the mixture aside to cool a bit and start working on the “crisp” topping: In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and oats; mix to combine. Add in the cubed butter and with your clean hands “rub” the butter into the mixture making a nice crumble topping.
- Butter the inside of your favorite baking dish, top and sides, with the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Pour the cooked cranberry and pear mixture. The pears will cook off in the oven. Loosely pour in the crisp topping making sure its laid in evenly and touches all sides of the dish.
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50 minutes, or until bubbling on the sides and the topping has browned.
- Let the cranberry-pear crisp rest and set for at least 15 minutes before scooping out. Drizzle on the sweetened cream, then throw your mouth around some pre-holiday (or actual holiday) goodness!