Now that's out of the way, I have a confession. Are you ready for this?
I have a deep, passionate, torrid, and terribly gratifying love affair with cranberries. It's almost an obsession. It's a fruit that grows beautifully in North America, has a distinct sweet/tart flavour, and, unfortunately, is harvested only two months out of the year. OK, here's a second confession: I buy them up when they're on sale in November and keep them in the freezer. Since you really never use raw cranberries for anything, freezing them has little effect on their usefulness or versatility, so it's ideal. You should try it. They'll be gone before you know it!
We opted to forego traditional pies this year, but replaced them with the most delicious fall harvest, sweet goodness in the whole world. You know you want it. This calls for gingersnaps, and I made my own molasses spice cookie for those, but you definitely don't need to do that. Maybe I'll post that recipe some time. Because both cranberries and pears are in season right now, they're both super cheap. GO! BUY SOME! MAKE THIS CRISP!
Cranberry Pear Crisp
adapted from Sweet Melissa Patisserie via Smitten Kitchen
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup gingersnap crumbs (about 4 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of white pepper, [trust . . .]
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 large ripe pears (I used a combination of red and green Anjou) peeled, halved, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (about 1/2 bag)
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the kind you made at home with rum. Pears ♥ Rum . . .)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, gingersnap crumbs, ginger and salt. Stir in the melted butter until large crumbs form. Set aside.
In a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish, mix the pears, cranberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Just dump them in there. If you want a thick crisp, go for a smaller, deeper pan. I used a large (10") square dish and the ratio of fruit to crumble was excellent. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together then toss it with the fruit mixture in the pan. No extra spices, just sugar and thickener. This baby tastes like its fruit.
Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble over the fruit. Set the crumble on a foil-lined baking sheet if you're worried about bubble over (mine didn't because the dish was big) and bake it for about 45 minutes, until the crumble is a shade darker and you see juices bubbling through the crumbs.
Eat this thing ravenously and fresh from the oven. Or for breakfast. I think it would be great for breakfast. Or over ice cream. We used slightly sweetened fresh whipped cream and garnished with some of the leftover cookies.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO NOW! BAKE!