Saturday, December 5, 2009

What's in a Name?

It’s crumbly, it’s crispy, and it’s delicious. I’m talking about Apple-Pear Crisp…er, Crumble!? After researching on the internet, I still couldn’t’ tell you the difference. Some people say a crumble has an oat streusel, some people say a crisp has the oat topping, while a crumble has a flour-sugar-butter crumbly crust like topping. Really, I don’t care what you call it, as long as I get to eat it. I love crumbles/crisps, with their sugary streusel topping over hot, syrupy fruit or berries. You can have your pies, because I’ll take one of these bad-boys over pie any day.

Ever since the leaves started turning orange and the temperatures dropped (to the 20s… we’re cold up here in Seattle!) I’ve been dying to make a crisp/crumble. Luckily, recent events left me with a box full of apples and a bag full of pears. Amanda and I ordered the HUGE box of apples from a Washington orchard that was having an Apple-Cup apple-buying contest between Huskies and Cougars. Clearly our donation was in favor of our alma mater, the University of Washington. We split the mixed box of fresh, crispy apples—leaving us with about 20 apples apiece. The freshly picked pears came from Mel and John, who live near orchard country and always have boxes of fresh fruit. I don’t know about you, but when I have an overabundance of apples and pears, I immediately dream of cinnamon and envision that crumbly streusel topping.

After a Saturday spent doing chores and decorating for Christmas, the last thing Evan and I wanted to do tonight was go out. I, of course, wanted to mess up that freshly cleaned kitchen, so I rolled up my sleeves and started peeling fruit! I looked at a few basic apple crisp recipes for the general step by step involved, and mixed and matched flavors and ingredients for this simple yet super-satisfying apple pear crumbly crisp. Clean, warm apartment, holiday decorations, staying in with the boyfriend and cat, and apple pear crisp…it doesn’t get much better than this.

Apple Pear Crumbly Crisp

2 firm-ripe pears, peeled and cut into large bite-size chunks
2 tart apples such as Granny Smith, peeled and cut into large bite-size chunks
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-2 crushed sugar cubes (or 1-2 teaspoons of granulated sugar)
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Stir together fruits, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Place in a buttered 1-2-quart baking dish. Stir together oats, flour, salt, and brown sugar. Blend in butter with your fingers until mixture is thoroughly moistened. Press over fruit and sprinkle with sugar cubes/white sugar. Bake until juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly, and serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or a drizzle of heavy cream.
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