Monday, April 23, 2018

Asian Pear and Cranberry Crisp

Asian Pear and Cranberry Crisp is so easy thanks to a topping of pre-made granola. Its a comforting dessert or (mostly) healthy breakfast!  


Asian Pear and Cranberry Crisp

When Spring rolled around on the calendar this year, I was more than ready to start breaking out the fresh, bright flavours of the season and re-energize my cooking. However, Mother Nature made other plans and gave my sister and I the birthday gifts of ice storms and blinding cold. The awful weather outside, coupled with the end of my university term complete with papers galore and exam week, meant only one thing could possibly be on rotation: comfort food.

When I think of comfort food, I automatically revert back to the autumns of my childhood where, after an afternoon of apple picking, mom (and sometimes us kids) would bake scads of pies, squares and crisps which were eagerly devoured once they feel just below burn-your-mouth temperature. To this day, the combination of warm, juicy fruit and toasty grains makes me feel like curling up in a big cozy quilt with a book or a good Disney classic movie.

This crisp was beyond easy to make from the fruit I had on hand, and was the perfect blend of sweet, tart, nutty and grainy. I love the sweet, crisp, juicy bite of Asian pears (especially the brown "Korean" pears) and always stock up when they look their best at the store. However, some weeks my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and they sit in the fridge becoming just a little too ripe for me to enjoy out of hand (I'm picky!). However, they have lots of life left, and rather than turn them into sauce or leather (two of my other favourite "use ups") I peeled and chopped up the stragglers, tossed them with fresh cranberries, a bit of sugar and some spice before finally topping the works with a bag of pre-made granola. Granola - whether homemade or store-bought, is by far my favourite "cheat" ingredient for crisps - you don't need added butter or sugar, most already have a good mix of grains and other crunchy "bits" for texture, and it's sturdy enough that it won't sog out or burn up in the baking process. Now, I will never knock my mom's crumb mixture for her apple squares - that stuff is legend - but for a weeknight dessert? This hits the spot.


Asian Pear and Cranberry Crisp

Asian Pear and Cranberry Crisp
Serves 8
4 large, very ripe brown Asian pears (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, chopped roughly
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (300g) bag cranberry granola (I used All-Bran* Cranberry Almond Granola, I also really like Nature's Path Organic Gluten-Free Almond Cranberry Granola)
3 tbsp salted butter, diced
  1. Grease a deep 9” square baking dish and heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Toss pears, cranberries, sugar, starch and spices in a bowl to combine well. Transfer to prepared dish.
  3. Sprinkle granola evenly over filling and dot with butter.
  4. Set dish on baking sheet to catch drips and bake until topping is golden and juices bubble thickly, about 1 hour.
  5. Cool at least 20 minutes (ideally chill overnight) before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 294.5
Total Fat: 6.4 g
Cholesterol: 11.6 mg
Sodium: 124.7 mg
Total Carbs: 60.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 9.8 g
Protein: 3.6 g