Last Thanksgiving I wanted to come up with an easy, satisfying crisp, bubbling with the warm, spicy, sweet flavors that I associate with the season. Revisiting this recipe in September, I substituted blueberries for cranberries and was equally pleased with the result. I also made it gluten free. Depending on where you live and when you make this, use your berry of choice. A slightly tangy, not-too-sweet whipped crème fraiche is my preference to contrast the spice; however, vanilla ice cream is also lovely. Note: For the summer season a combination of pears and strawberries or strawberries and blueberries would be divine! - gingerroot —gingerroot
Test Kitchen Notes
Gingerroot's crisp is a delicious, warm and satisfying dessert. The spicing is masterful, a little kick from the peppercorns, a hint of ginger and tangerine made this stand out. I had to use dried cranberries since I could not find fresh and they worked well. The topping crisped nicely and you would never know that it is gluten free. The creme fraiche whipped cream, only slightly sweetened, made a perfect companion. This is the the kind of fall and winter dessert I love to make, it would be equally good with other fruits and berries. It's so easy to make and the results are outstanding. I highly recommend you try this -- it's really good. - sdebrango —sdebrango
2 T walnut halves
gluten free rolled oats (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
golden brown sugar, packed
cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Pinch of sea salt
For Spiced Pear and Berry:
ripe but firm Bartlett or Anjou pears
whole fresh cranberries or blueberries
small tangerine, cut into quarters
sugar if using cranberries, 2T if using blueberries
Prepare a 2-quart ceramic baking dish by thoroughly greasing with butter. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer nuts to a small bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For the topping: Add rolled oats to food processor. Pulse a few times to break up oats. Add brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
For the Spiced Pear & Berry: For each pear, slice off the stem end, peel off the skin, halve and core. Slice each half into six or seven pieces and place in a large bowl, squeezing tangerine juice on the cut pear. Repeat until all the pears are sliced and all of the tangerine quarters are juiced. Remove any tangerine seeds that may have slipped into the bowl.
Wash and dry cranberries or blueberries; add them to the pears. Sprinkle sugar and pulsed walnuts onto fruit, using a spatula to combine.
Using a mortar and pestle, finely and evenly grind the whole peppercorns. Fold the pepper, cloves, grated ginger, and pinch of cardamom into the fruit mixture.
Carefully transfer fruit to prepared ceramic baking dish. Top with oat-brown sugar mixture, using a spatula to spread over fruit. Bake until top is golden and bubbling, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow crisp to cool slightly.
In a large metal bowl, using an electric mixer beat cold heavy cream until soft peaks form (best to start out slower and speed up as you go). In a separate small bowl, combine crème fraiche and confectioner’s sugar with a spoon until incorporated. Stir crème fraiche mixture into whipped cream, using mixer to achieve soft peaks again, if necessary. Serve crisp warm with whipped crème fraiche.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.