Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple-Pear and Pinenut Crisp

Those who know me well know that I'm a real sucker for dessert.  In fact, the first thing I ever remember cooking was, as my Dad called it when I was little (and sometimes still does) peach "crips," otherwise known as crisp.  What I love about fruit crisps is that they are simple, sweet, and they really allow seasonal fruit to take center stage.

This crisp is as easy to make as any ol' crisp, but it has some unusual ingredients to give this very traditional dessert a unique twist.  I used almond flour, pine nuts and almond extract to give the topping a wonderful marzipan-like flavor, with the wintry spices of apple cider to enhance the Fall fruits.  The ratio of pears to apples is just what I happened to have in the fridge at the time - you can do half and half or even make an all-apple or all-pear crisp if you like.  I used Jonathan apples because their tart flavor pairs nicely with the rich sweetness of the pears and honey.  You can use any variety of apple you like and there's no need to peel the fruit - the skin gives the dessert a lovely color. 

Apple-Pear and Pinenut Crisp
6 small or 4 large servings

1 cup sliced Barlett pears (about 1 medium pear)
5 cups sliced Jonathan apples (about 3-4 medium apples)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 T honey
1 tsp cornstarch
2/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 T butter, cold and cut into squares
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a 9-inch square pan, combine sliced fruit, lemon juice, honey and cornstarch and toss well to combine. 

Add remaining ingredients to a food processor and pulse until mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Spread topping evenly across the apples and pat down.  Bake until golden brown on top, about 35 to 40 minutes.  Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

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