Here in Northern Virginia, Hurricane Sandy has finally dissipated, and we can finally get back to our normal schedules. Luckily at my house, we just had a bunch of rain and some wind and we came out mostly unscathed, except for a big leak in the ceiling of our office. I know others weren’t quite so lucky, but hopefully everyone else in her path is on their way to recovering.
Since all of the schools in the area were closed due to the storm, my daughter missed having her Halloween parade and party. At least Halloween isn’t cancelled and she can still get to wear her fun Red Riding Hood costume!
While we were waiting for the storm to arrive, my family did a little pumpkin carving. I bet you can tell which design my daughter picked out and which one my husband picked.
I also had the opportunity to make my favorite fall pear dessert, this Pear and Cranberry Crisp, perfect served warm with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream. This is a great way to use sweet in-season pears.
The sweetness of the pears goes so well with the tartness of the cranberries. There is even a surprise twist of crystallized ginger, which you can leave out if you are not a big ginger fan, but I highly recommend trying it with at least some ginger.
FYI: Peeled pears are quite slippery, so watch out!
Pear and Cranberry Crisp
5-6 pears (about 3 pounds), such as Bartlett or Anjou (I use Bartlett), peeled, cored, and cut evenly into small bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 cup crystallized ginger (optional), finely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp butter, unsalted, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, gently stir together pears, brown sugar (2 Tbsp), ginger, cranberries, and cornstarch. Distribute evenly in an 8 inch square baking dish.
2. To make crisp topping: In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar (1/3 cup), flour, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), cut in butter until large clumps form. Sprinkle mixture over pears.
3. Bake about 20 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned and crisp and pear juices are bubbling. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. (Can also be served at room temperature.) Refrigerate any leftovers.
I prefer enjoying mine warm with vanilla ice cream.
*I purchased my crystallized ginger from Williams-Sonoma, but you may be able to find it at your local grocery store. It is also available from Amazon.com. Here is the kind I use. It may not be an item that you use often, but it keeps very well and can also be used to soothe upset stomachs.
Recipe adapted from Everyday Food Magazine