We’ve been thinking about fall and holiday menus lately, and our friend Kate suggested a cranberry and pear crumble from her book she co-authored with Chicago Chef Paul Virant, The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux. This is by far one of the easiest and most delicious desserts we’ve made in a long time! Even if you don’t really cook, you can make this, and you’ll impress anyone. This crumble could honestly be made any time of the year with seasonal fruit, but it’s fantastic in the fall or winter with the cranberries and pears (also an easy Thanksgiving dessert) .
All you have to do is toss the fruit with sugar and spices, and after you make the topping in a food processor or stand mixer, press it into the top. We used this gratin pan to make ours. As Chef Virant’s family says, the more topping, the better. Stuff it in, and smoosh it down. We agree with him, the fruit is amazing, but the topping is the best part and it will balance the tartness of the filling. You’ll want to save some for yourself, because this will be gone in no time! Serve by itself or with vanilla bean ice cream. See more books from Kate (we love them all) here.
- 2 large pears
- 5 cups cranberries
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 16 tablespoons (½ pound) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- Place a rack on the middle rung of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Peel, quarter, and core the pears. Halve each wedge and slice crosswise into small chunks. Spread the pear pieces and cranberries evenly in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle ½ cup sugar over the fruit and gently mix to combine.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the remaining 1½ cups sugar with the flours and salt on low speed. While the mixer is running, gradually add the butter and continue to mix until a coarse crumble forms. Spread the crumble evenly over the fruit, gently pressing it into the fruit (expect a thick layer covering the fruit).
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes or until the cranberry juices are bubbling and the topping is golden brown.