Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Celebratory Dessert

Clinic finished up tonight with a celebratory dinner. The young chef made a wonderful lemon-mustard-garlic-rosemary chicken dish that is his own creation. If I get his permission, I'll do a post on it later, with recipe. My office partner made a delicious ratatouille with eggplant from the physical therapist's garden. There were lots of veggies, salad, and local bread. My contribution was made in response to a large number of ripe Bartlett pears. When you buy a flat of fruit, they all seem to ripen at once.

The solution was a pear and cranberry crisp. It is a very good dessert for autumn. This one was really nice because it was not too heavy nor overly sweet. The pear flavor really stood out and the contrast of soft silky pear slices, tangy cranberries, zingy orange flavor and a crunchy oat topping was lovely.

Credit for most of this recipe goes to Dorie Greenspan, although I made a few changes. Dorie's book Sweet Times is a wonderful collection of sweet recipes. As usual, the recipe was well written and foolproof. As you can see, we had no trouble in convincing everyone to help themselves.

I think that this is the perfect dish to bring to Peabody's open house. It should travel well and feeds a lot of people, plus it's sweet and baked! See you there on December 8th.

Pear-Cranberry Crisp
based on a recipe by Dorie Greenspan

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup broken walnut pieces, toasted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

6-7 large ripe Bartlett pears (about 3 lbs.) cored and stems removed
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh cranberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Topping: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms large curds, about 1-2 minutes. Alternately, mix everthing but the butter in a bowl, then cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives. Set aside.

Fruit: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Quarter the pears and cut each pear quarter lengthwise into 3 slices. Dip the slices in a bowl containing the orange juice. Then arrange the slices in the bottom of a deep dish pie pan or a 2 quart baker. (I left on the peels, which worked out fine.) Repeat with all of the pear quarters, coating the slices in the juice to keep them from darkening. Sprinkle the cranberries evenly over the pears, then sprinkle on the golden raisins.
Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the fruit.
Sprinkle the orange juice that you dipped the pears in over all, then sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.
Place the crisp on a baking sheed with raised sides and bake 40 -45 minutes, until the top is brown and the fruit juices are bubbling. Remove the crisp from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving, but can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Serve vanilla ice cream, heavy cream ot pour, or whipped cream to garnish if desired. Serves 6-8, or more at a buffet.

The photo below was taken in the morning where the fog was burning off right near the clinic building. That is a very old redwood tree on the left.


  1. happy thanksgiving to you and your family. And what a lovely dessert! Can't wait to dig my spoon in for at least 2 serves!

  2. Oh that looks so good~ I'll take that last little scoop with some icecream please =D
    who am I kidding?... after Thanksgiving I won't have room for a spoonful!

  3. This looks super comforting which I need right now! Thanks for bringing such a fabulous looking crisp.

  4. Great combinations, pears and cranberries go so well together and to top it with a crumb topping...well I will be helpig myself to seconds if there is any left

  5. Anh, Happy thanksgiving to you and your family, too! I would have had two servings if there was any left.

    Sandi, Make it on the weekend after Thanksgiving instead, and do add the ice cream...perfect contrast if you serve the crisp hot.

    Peabody, Wish I was in Seattle..I'd make you some and we could both pig out. :) Maybe I should 'bring' two to the open house.

    Helen, I'll hide the second one and maybe Peabody will share after the guest have gone. :)

  6. Anonymous12:33 AM

    The crisp looks great, but what caught my attention was the photo at the end. That would make a beautiful poster. I love how you caught the light hitting just right. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Love and hugs,

  7. Elle, this dessert is magnificent!
    I love baking with fruit, and pears are great for that!

  8. Anonymous4:59 PM

    What a beautiful looking dessert!
    That photo on the bottom is amazing. So peaceful!

  9. I do hope you get to post that chicken recipe.

  10. T, Happy Thanksgiving to you. I like the idea of the photo as a really captures the beauty of the place.

    Patricia, the nice thing is the pears are the star here.

    Kristen, thanks!

    Cynthia, Me too. Ate the leftovers last night and it is a great chicken recipe. I'll have to ask the young chef nicely. He's a nice guy & probably will tell us.

  11. This looks just delicious! A perfect dessert for fall!