Monday, March 25, 2013

Easy Apple-Pear Crisp

I love a good apple pie, but when you don’t feel like making the dough, apple crisp is a simpler, just as satisfying alternative. Peeling and chopping the fruit is the most work. The crumble top is easy to mix together and, for novice bakers, a lot easier to get right than pie crust. You really can’t mess this up.

The Washington Post Food section recommended this Easy Apple-Pear Crisp during a recent chat when I was looking for something easy to serve at a dinner party. The combination of pears and apples was great. The crumble top was perfect. No downside here.

Easy Apple-Pear Crisp
From The Washington Post courtesy of Nancy Baggett

Butter for the baking dish
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional, I did not use them)
Scant ½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 ½ cups peeled, cored and sliced (¼ inch) apples, about 4 or 5 medium apples (I used Granny Smith; the recipe suggests that or Stayman, Greening, Newton Pippin, York, or other tart, flavorful apples)
3 ½ cups peeled, cored and sliced (¼ inch) barely ripe Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc pears, about 3 medium peers (I used Bartlett)
½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. peeled and finely minced ginger root (I substituted ½ tsp. ground ginger)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F with rack in middle position. Coat the inside of a 9-by-13-inch or similarly sized baking dish with butter.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, oats, nuts (if using), salt and cinnamon. Add the butter and stir until it is evenly incorporated and the mixture forms clumps. Set aside.

3. In a large nonreactive bowl, toss together the apples, pears, zest, lemon juice and ginger. Add 1 cup of the crumb mixture and toss to combine. Spread the apple-pear mixture evenly in the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top, using your fingertips to break up any large clumps.

4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the top is well browned and the fruit is bubbly. Transfer the dish to a wire rack to cool. I served the crisp in bowls topped with fresh whipped cream. The crisp will keep refrigerated for several days. Cover with foil and reheat slowly in a low oven just until warmed.


  1. This is really good, even though I love your apple pie. Also: I bet I could mess up a crumble top.

  2. The best way to mess up a crumble top: take a spoon to it and start eating!