The Ultimate Fall Dessert. Those are powerful words. We all have our favourites. And by claiming this one as the ultimate, I’m bound to invite all kinds of disagreements.
I stand undaunted.
If you know me well, or if you’ve read most of my posts, you’ll know that I adore fruit desserts. That “fruit crisp” is a heavenly phrase, with few peers. (“We’d love to publish your manuscript” and “You haven’t aged a day since university” would also be up there.)
If you know me well, you might also know that I own three Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.
So could The Ultimate Fall Dessert be anything other than a fruit crisp inspired by Ina Garten, a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa?
This recipe called out to me immediately when I read it. I bought pears from the local farmers’ market, and I bought apples from a friend’s orchard. I love dried cherries and thought they might make a tasty addition. They do! I’ve scaled down the recipe a bit, but my version still makes quite a large crisp. You can cut my recipe in half, and have a nice little crisp that bakes in 30 minutes. About the same amount of time as it will take you to polish it off. That is, if you agree that this is The Ultimate Fall Dessert.
Apple Pear Cherry Crisp
4 apples (I used Cortlands, but any variety of cooking apple should work)
1 cup dried cherries
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
For the topping:
2/3 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Peel, core and cut the pears and apples into large chunks. Add dried cherries. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add orange zest, juice, ¼ cup sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a 12" x 9" baking dish. (I used an oval pyrex baking dish. This isn't a standard size, so feel free to substitute a 13" x 9" pan. You might want to remove it from the oven five minutes early, but it shouldn't make much of a difference.)
For the topping, combine 2/3 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar and oatmeal. Cut in the butter until the mixture starts to form small clumps. Sprinkle topping over the fruit mixture, covering fruit completely.
Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, until the top is brown and fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.