Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crumbled Over

At our house, desserts are pretty rare, and as of late.. having any kind of sweet or carb in the house has been off limits. But, in the spirit of Valentine's Day and offering something sweet to the sweet man I live with, I'm opting to meet in the middle and create a delicious treat, but one that's still healthy and centered around 'good for you' ingredients (at least that's what I am telling myself).

Cranberry and Pear Crumble 

It's not chocolate decadence, but it's helping me use up a big box of delicious Columbian red D'Anjou pears I just received from my Fruit of the Month Club. If you don't have this service coming to your house... you should. But until you get on the mailing list, for a time pinch you can likely find some good fruit choices right now at The Produce Place or Whole Foods. Find what's in season/ripe and use it-- this creation can easily adapt to most any fruit as long as it is fresh and ready for cooking.

The latest arrival from the beloved service my Dad gets me for Xmas-- this month it's red pears! 

I don't follow any recipe to the letter (as most were for apple/pear crumbles or cobblers), but I take my lead from Barefoot Contessa's crumble creations. I wanted a bit of RED in my recipe and the tart flavor that only cranberries can bring.

Make sure that you wash and dry the cranberries prior to coating with sugar 


2 TBSP butter
6 ripe pears
1 cup cranberries
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel pears and chop into 1/2" pieces. Heat butter in a skillet and add pears, saute until slightly tender (3-5 min). Add 1/2 cup sugar, orange juice and spices, toss and remove from heat to cool immediately. Combine remaining sugar, lemon juice and orange zest in a bowl and toss to coat. Mix well with pears.

For topping, combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt and mix to blend. Work in with the butter with fingers until mixture is coarse but moist. There will be pieces, but should not be large chunks of the butter. I sometimes like to add a bit of ginger to taste, too.

Assemble the fruit in a lightly greased 9 x11 baking dish. Spread topping evenly over fruit. Bake on center rack in oven for 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. To add life to the presentation, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a bit of orange and/or lemon zest. Voila! 

Crunchy, chewy, sweet and tart...the perfect combination of texture and flavors
What are you serving your sweetheart on Valentine's Day? Or what is your favorite way to 'crumble over' your main squeeze? Share your secrets for winning hearts (and tastebuds) here and keep following the Southern Sophisticate!