I know, I know. Pears were so four weeks ago. But when this recipe appeared in my inbox via my subscription to the always wonderful Smitten Kitchen, I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself. I have a feeling you’ll appreciate just as much as I did how the curvaceous sweetness of the pear tangos with the tart punch of that holiday staple, the cranberry. And what made this cooking experience particularly enjoyable was that it took place in the huge, industrial kitchen of my friend’s incredibly friendly co-op house. This kitchen meets the eating needs of nearly thirty people every day of the year, so you can imagine the proportions that must be maintained. To give you a taste, consider these literal BUCKETS of flour and sugar (pictured below). Basically, I could have easily made forty pear and cranberry crumbles with these kind of ingredients on hand, but thankfully just one sufficed this time.
pear, cranberry and gingersnap crumble
the crumble topping
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup gingersnap cookies, crushed into crumbs
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
5 large ripe pears, peeled, halved, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Crush your gingersnaps. With emotion.
Stir together the flour, sugars, gingersnap crumbs, ginger and salt. Stir in the melted butter to form large crumbs.
Peel, core and slice your pears. It’s okay if you nearly mutilate the pears in the process of coring them, but if you happen to have that strangest of kitchen appliances the melon baller, I would recommend you use that. My cored pears are not pictured here for a reason (it wasn’t pretty).
In a baking dish (2 quarts should do it), mix together the pears, cranberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, stir the sugar and cornstarch together then toss with the fruit mixture in the baking dish.
Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble over the fruit. Set the crumble on a foil-lined baking sheet, so as not to risk destroying your oven (or your friend’s oven) with oozing juice. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown. Let cool for fifteen minutes.
This should probably be eaten with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, but was still pretty mind-blowing on its own. Many thanks to Gregory Co-Op for providing a kitchen to cook in!