Winter Fruit Crisp

Have you ever read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? In case you haven't, it's a pretty incredible memoir of a year the famous writer and her family spent living on the land doing everything from farming to slaughtering animals to baking bread daily. While some have a love-hate relationship with it (read the reviews. People can be brutal!), I actually learned a ton about what is in season when and how to maximize seasonal produce. The book is filled with recipes and while this is not one of them (although there is probably something similar), the seasonality and of-the-land qualities of the book inspired me to make a winter fruit crisp. Well, that book and the fact that our Aunt Camille sent us a gorgeous box of red apples and pears from Harry & David last week. Thanks, Aunt Camille!

I am certainly not the first person to combine apples, pears and cranberries. I'm pretty sure my culinary heroes have all done it. But, this simple rendition with a little cardamom for warmth and rich vanilla ice cream to balance it all out is a happy, tummy-warming treat perfect for an evening by the fire. It travels pretty well, too, if you'd like to take it to a family holiday meal or a party. This little gem passes my ultimate holiday dessert litmus test: it tastes even better as breakfast the next day.

It's the holidays. I'm feeling warm and fuzzy all over. Posting this makes me think that perhaps one of you will bake it for your family and they'll have the warm fuzzies, too. Because, really, this season is all about connection, love and light. All of which I wish to you.



Winter Fruit Crisp
The Winter Fruit:
3 red apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 green apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 C cranberries, washed and dried
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C flour
3 T fresh orange juice
2 T sugar
1 t orange zest
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamom

The Crisp:
1 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
3/4 C oats
12 T unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a medium casserole dish (mine is about 9"x11"). 

Prepare the fruit. Here's what you do - put everything into a bowl and gently toss until the fruit is coated in the sugar and flour.

Make the crisp. Pour the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Cut the butter into the dry mixture until the butter bits are pea-sized and fairly well incorporated.

Pour the fruit into your casserole dish and sprinkle the crisp mixture over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove, let cool for 20-30 minutes and serve warm with, of course, vanilla ice cream. Or, if you can find it, use cinnamon ice cream. I'll be thinking of you as the warm crisp and cool ice cream hit your mouth and fill it with wonder. Enjoy!!!!

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