One of my favorite things about Fall is all of the fabulous colors - deep reds and oranges, yellows and rusty brown. My rustic Apple, Pear & Dried Cherry Crisp with Walnut Streusel is filled with both autumn colors and flavors, combining tender apples, ripe red pears and cherries into a caramel laced crumble, with a buttery walnut streusel topping.
Warm and wonderful from the oven and served with sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream - it's the stuff autumn dreams are made of!
We'll start this recipe by cooking dried tart cherries with apple cider, butter, and a touch of brown sugar and pure vanilla. Just a little simmering and you'll have a delicate cherry & caramel sauce to start things off.
If you've never baked with pears before, this is the perfect recipe to start with! I love Red Anjou, which are both sweet and juicy, and have a mild flavor and a firm texture - perfect for baking in crisps and cobblers. The glowing red skin adds a nice pop of color, and it holds up well to baking.
For this recipe, I like to combine sweet honey crisp apples and granny smith for a little pop of tart flavor. It's a great combination, but if you prefer one variety of apple over another, use what you like!
I use a combination of both chunked and sliced pears and apples, as it gives your crisp some nice texture, and allows everything to cook up evenly and tender without getting mushy. And while three may be a crowd, the cherry, apple and pear combination is a match made in heaven!
You may think that the heavenly smells coming from your oven while this is baking is the best thing in the world, but wait until you try a bite of this warm from the oven!
So easy to make, but this is pretty spectacular for a Fall dinner party or served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and quiet conversation with your family on a chilly evening.
What's your favorite kind of apple and pear? Hope you enjoy this!
Apple, Pear & Cherry Layer:
2/3 cup apple cider
½ cup dried tart cherries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large ripe red pears (half chunked and half sliced 1/3” thick)
3 large granny smith and/or honey crisp apples
(peeled & cored, with half chunked & half sliced 1/3” thick)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
¼ cup old-fashioned oats
¼ cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Walnut Streusel Topping:
¾ cup old-fashioned oat
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar (packed)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3/4cup coarsely chopped walnuts
HOW I MAKE THIS:
1. In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider, brown sugar, butter and dried cherries. Stir over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer. Reduce heat and allow to lightly simmer until the cherries begin to soften (about 10 minutes) and the apple cider begins to caramelize. Stir in vanilla and set aside to cool.
2. Place rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Spray a 10-inch deep dish pie plate or 8x8x2” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, toss the apple slices and pears with lemon juice.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the oats, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle oat mixture on fruit slices; gently stir and let sit about 5-10 minutes.
5. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and using a fork, mix together until it is well-blended and crumbly.
6. Add the cooled cherries mixture to the apples and pears. Spread fruit mixture in baking dish and spread evenly. Scatter streusel topping over fruit.
7. Bake until juices are thickened and bubbling, apples & pears are tender and the top is golden brown, about 40-50 minutes.
8. Let cool slightly and serve warm. Garnish with additional dried cherries and walnut pieces (optional). You can always serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream, but this stuff is pretty spectacular all on its own!
YIELD: 8 servings
NOTE: You can easily double the recipe and bake it in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Originally posted September 2012, revised and reposted October 2018
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