My daughters love the recipe site, Smitten Kitchen http://smittenkitchen.com/ . They sometimes send me links to recipes and ask (demand) that I fix them THAT. And then sometimes I peruse the site and just find something that I like and want to make for ME. Which is how I came to make the following:
Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup Gingersnap cookie crumbs (It took 20 Nabisco Gingersnap cookies to make a cup of crumbs)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of white pepper (or black, if you don't have any) to add snap to the ginger.
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
2 pounds ripe pears, peeled cored and sliced SK suggested Anjou, but I ended up with Bartlett
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350°.
I could have used a food processor to crunch up the cookies into crumbs. Instead I used a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin. They got pretty finely crushed and I was happy until I got to the next part.
Sift together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, gingersnap crumbs, ginger, salt and pepper. I tried that and there were still quite a bit of brown sugar and cookie crumbs in the sifter. My solution was to dump out the rest on top of the sifted mix, stir it all up and keep going. Low stress cooking is my favorite. Pour the melted butter on top and stir until moistened. Set aside.
Zest one lemon and cut it in half across the middle of the lemon.
The quickest way I know to peel, core and slice is to cut the clean pears in half from the stem. Then cut each half in half through the core. You have now quartered the pears. Then a quick slice to take off the core and another couple to remove the peel. Slice each quarter into about 1/4 inch pieces and place then in a 2 quart baking dish.
This will take a bit of time and pears tend to brown when the cut portions are exposed to the air. Because you will be putting lemon juice in later, you might as well do it a bit as you go. Cut two pears, squeeze half the lemon over them and give them a bit of a stir with a rubber spatula so you don't damage the pear slices. Make sure you don't get a lemon seed in the bowl by squeezing over your other hand. Allow the juice to flow into the dish through your fingers and trap the seeds.
Continue peeling and slicing and then squeeze the other lemon half. Is this the Tablespoon called for in the recipe? Of course it is. An exact amount. Then put in the lemon zest. Is this 1/2 teaspoon zest like I am supposed to use? I am sure it is. Well, actually it is a bit more, but who's counting? And besides, lemon zest is lovely. Remember the low stress portion of this dish. Use the zest and juice from one lemon. Or worry about it and measure it all out.
I used four large pears.
Add the cranberries and vanilla. Give another gentle stir. Mix the sugar and the cornstarch in a small bowl and mix that into the pears. Gently.
Spread the crumble mixture on top of the pear mixture. Bake for about 45 minutes. The crumble will darken and the pink tinged juices will bubble up through the crumbs. And it will smell really good.
Let cool a bit and serve warm. If you have vanilla ice cream, this would be a good place for you to put it. If you don't, you could add Cool Whip. Save some for tomorrow because that is too much dessert for two people to eat. Next time invite someone over, or better yet, make it for Christmas when the whole famdamly is around. It's that good.