June 6, 2019
I had cherries and I had very, very, very ripe pears.
I know that a cherry-plum or cherry-nectarine crisp is more common than a cherry-pear crisp, but I had these very ripe pears to use (as I have said…) and I knew that the pears would soften during baking and wrap their arms, as it were, around the firmer cherries. It would be a compatible match.
I used a 12-inch ceramic, fluted quiche dish - a wide shallow baking dish, to ensure that the ratio of crisp topping and cooked fruit would provide equal bites of both in your mouth.
And finally, I replaced some of the all-purpose flour with almond flour, making the crust crumblier and crunchier, both desirable attributes.
1 ¾ cup all-purpose (AP) flour
¾ cup almond flour
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch kosher salt
2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼ cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, for buttering the baking dish
the fruit filling:
1 ½ pounds fresh cherries
6 or 7 overripe pears, 3-3 ½ pounds total weight
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons crisp topping from above (measured out and set aside before adding the butter)
the optional garnishes:
3-4 tablespoons sanding sugar
¼ cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
prepare the crisp topping:
Cut the 2 sticks of butter into ¼-inch cubes and refrigerate to keep chilled.
In a large bowl, mix together the AP flour, almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and pinch of salt.
Add the chilled, diced butter cubes and gently toss to coat the cubes with the dry mix. Refrigerate this mix again, so the butter stays cold.
Take the 2 tablespoons of softened butter and coat the bottom and sides of the baking dish you are using. Set aside.
The crisp topping is not quite finished, we will come back to it.
prepare the fruit filling:
Wash the cherries and shake off excess water in a strainer or colander. Remove the stems (if any) and pit the cherries…now I pit cherries in a deep bowl or I put them in a plastic bag and pit them inside the bag. Cherry juice can be a bit of a nuisance to clean-up! Once pitted, add the cherries to a deep stainless (non-staining) bowl.
The pears should be soft enough to peel in your hands with a small paring knife. Take one pear at a time and cut off the top and bottom, not too much, about ½-inch on either end. Next, set the pear down on a cutting board and slice the pear in half (from stem to root). With the paring knife, peel the 2 pear halves. Cut these halves in half—you now have 4 pieces of peeled pear. Run your knife down the inside of the pear and remove the core. Cut each ‘pear quarter’ into 3 equal chunky pieces. Visualize pear chunks and not pear slices.
Cut off the top ‘neck’ of each piece of pear. Next, cut the remaining piece in half, lengthwise. These two cuts should give you 3 chunks of pear that are roughly equal in shape/size. I know, it would be easier to show you…I guess that’s why YouTube was invented!
Continue with the rest of the pears, adding the chunked pear pieces to the bowl with the pitted cherries.
Gently toss to combine. Add a pinch of salt along with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and add the 3 tablespoons of reserved (dry) crisp topping. Again, toss gently to combine.
Spoon the fruit evenly into the buttered baking dish.
finish the topping:
Remove the crisp topping ingredients from the refrigerator. You can use your fingers to work the butter and dry ingredients together into pea-sized pieces or you can tip the butter-dry ingredient mix into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture is just crumbly. Err on the side of under- rather than over-processing. (Don’t process so much that the mixture clumps together like it would if you were making pastry dough.)
assembly & baking:
Generously distribute the topping across the surface of the fruit. Some pieces of fruit should peek through. Don’t press down.
If using the optional garnishes, sprinkle the surface with the sanding sugar and/or the sliced almonds.
Put your baking dish on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over.
Bake for 25 minutes and turn the dish around in the oven and continue to bake for another 15-20
minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool for 15 minutes before eating. Serve with whipped cream or crème fraiche or ice cream!
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