13 Sep 2010 Drunken Pear Crisp with Cherries

Everyone who tried this last night (last night refers to one night in the fall of 2009) loved it…, except for me.  I didn’t fall in love with it until about an hour ago, when I had a bite of the leftovers.  Soooo GOOD!  What was I thinking earlier?  I had to scrape the bottom of the serving dish to get a leftover helping for myself.

This crisp is made with almost a full bottle of Zinfandel. I’ve served the crisp  with small scoops of homemade vanilla ice-cream, and with whipped cream.  I am going to have to make another batch to figure out which option I like better! Besides that, the picture above is horrible and I definitely need a new picture… (if you make this, can you send me a picture to use in place of this one?)

I made one change to the “Pear Crisp with Dried Sour Cherries”  recipe from “The Top 150 American Recipes” cookbook (aside from renaming the recipe), I thought the filling needed a thickening agent, it did.  I’ve added it into the recipe below.

Start this one day before you plan to serve it—the cherries need time to get drunk.  Kids probably won’t like this…. Let them eat the ice-cream!

Drunken Pear Crisp with Cherries

1 cup dried SOUR cherries (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)
Approx ¾ bottle of Zinfandel
5 cups thickly sliced pears (about 2 ½ lbs, 8 medium)
1 T. tapioca or cornstarch
½ cup sugar (divided use)
1 ¼ c. flour
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 T. finely chopped toasted sliced almonds
¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/8  t. ground nutmeg
¼ t. cinnamon
8 T. (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled

In a small saucepan over medium heat combine cherries with enough Zinfandel to cover by 2 inches.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove from heat and let cool.  Place cherries in the refrigerator and let soak overnight (or, at least 8 hours).  Drain the cherries, but reserve the wine.  In a large bowl combine the sliced pears, drained cherries,  ¼ cup white sugar, and cornstarch or tapioca.  Toss well.  Add ½ cup of the cherry-Zinfandel liquid and then let stand for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In another bowl combine flour, remaining ¼ c. sugar, 1/3 cup toasted almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Slowly drizzle in the melted butter.  Stir with a fork until mixture comes together in crumbles. (Do not over-mix and get a big ball of dough-break up any clumps bigger than one inch).  Spoon fruit mixture into a 2 qt. baking dish (8 x 8).  Evenly sprinkle crumbs on top of the fruit mixture. Sprinkle 1 T. finely chopped almonds over the crumbled topping. Bake until mixture is bubbling and topping is browned, about 50 minutes.  Serve hot or warm, with or without ice-cream or whipped cream. Guard the leftovers with your life!

Inviting friends over this fall?  Serve this for dessert.  Trust me.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! 

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