Because of the timing of this post I’ve chosen to make this a Pear-Cranberry Crisp. However, this recipe is really just a template for a fruit crisp in almost any combination. I like the addition of dried fruit. Feel free to use raisins or dried cherries if you like. Dried apricots and diced dried figs are good too. The same theory applies to the fresh fruit in this Pear-Cranberry Crisp. Apples, peaches, plums or berries. It just depends on the season. However, keep in mind that the sweetness of the chosen fruit can vary. Taste it before you start and adjust the amount of dried fruit, sugar, and spices to suit your palate.
- ½ cup (plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour (divided)
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 5 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter (cut into ½-inch cubes)
- ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup dried cranberries (or to taste)
- boiling water (as needed)
- 1 tablespoon liqueur or brandy (fruit or nuts flavors work well)
- 5 medium fresh pears (about 2 pounds, peeled, cored and cut into ½-cubes)
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg (or to taste)
- 1 pinch ground allspice (or to taste)
Place ½ cup flour and brown sugar in a food processor, pulse until well combined. Add the cubed butter and chopped walnuts and continue to pulse until a sandy is formed. Both the walnuts and butter should have plenty of coarse texture. Refrigerate ⅓ hour or up to 2 days until ready to use.
To continue, place the dried cranberries in a small heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water; set aside until the fruit plumps, about 30 minutes. Drain the water and add liqueur.
Place the fresh fruit and the dried fruit (and any unabsorbed liquid) in a large bowl; toss with lemon juice and vanilla extract. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon flour, granulated sugar, and spices on top; toss again. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for about 30 minutes. This will draw out the juices and marinate the fruit with flavor.
Meanwhile, place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Gently toss the fruit mixture and spoon it into a 1 ½ to 2-quart shallow baking dish. Crumble the cold nut topping evenly over the fruit, covering edge to edge. Bake until the topping is crisp and the fruit is bubbly visibly about 30 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.