Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple-pear crumble: a recipe

Apple-pear crumble
So I know I promised to have a bit more of a savory focus this week: apparently I lied.

But, come on, can you blame me? It's apple season and somehow I think you'd rather hear about a crumble than a pork loin.

At least, you only seem to comment on dessert posts.

I like this recipe (from The Joy of Baking) because it uses both pears and apples because I'd be hard-pressed to choose between the two if it was a one-fruit-only crumble. In fact, the original recipe calls for cranberries as well, making it a three-fruit crumble, but that just seemed like one fruit too many to me.

I have made this crumble several times now -- the second time necessitated by the fact that I forgot to take a photo of it the first time around and I really wanted to share it with you on this blog.

(Really, who could possibly object to a eating a yummy crumble twice? Not Mr. Ninj, I can assure you.)

The third time it just wound up being just an apple crumble because the vermin deer polished off all the delicious pears. (Another reminder that hunting season starts next week: yippee!)

Here's a tip, too: when recipes call for combining dry ingredients with chilled butter to make a crumbly topping, I urge you to use your hands. Pastry blenders just seem to make it more difficult than it should be.  And the suggestion of using a fork or two knives? Perhaps if you have seven hours to kill but otherwise a fool's errand.

Git yer hands down in there and just squish squish squish away until it is all combined and buttery-crumbly. Besides, it's an excellent forearm workout.

Apple-Pear Crumble (adapted slightly from The Joy of Baking)
This recipe lends itself well to halving.


For the crumble topping:
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the fruit filling:
3-4 tablespoons light brown sugar (4 if your apples are on the tart side, 3 if they are sweeter)
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks or thin slices
1 1/2 pounds ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks or slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place all the topping ingredients into a large bowl and, using your hands, blend them together until the mixture is integrated and crumbly, with no clumps larger than the size of peas.

In another large bowl combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the apples and pears and toss them in the sugar mixture. Transfer the fruit mixture to a prepared baking dish (about 2 to 2 1/2 quarts). Top with the crumble mixture.

Bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown and crisp. Cool at least 20 minutes before serving.


  1. thanks for the tip of using your hands!

  2. yum yum yum, one of my favorite desserts. I'm not a huge pear fan, but I do like the idea of using cranberries. Of course that would make it inedible to most of my family, so I might just add them to part of it.

  3. Pam: you're welcome! Achmed: it was great as an apple-only recipe, too -- surely they all eat apples?

  4. Now that I have a cup of tea in hand, I would kill for some. :-)