Pear and Apple Crisp (Gluten free, Vegan Optional)

I've been absent for a while. I'd like to say that I have recovered from a condition I like to call baker's block. Though excuses are unacceptable, I'm rolling with mine. 

Exactly where have I been?

I traveled to California to celebrate my grandfather's life. I spent a week planted at the kitchen table across from my Nana. She sipped her breakfast tea, while I savored my morning coffee. She read the newspaper and giggled at the Dear Abby advice column, while I flipped through two novels. We sat there quiet and still until a story unraveled itself from our tongues and floated around the empty spaces of the kitchen. 

We browsed an antique store in search of Peter Rabbit and sat in a British pub surrounded by bangers n' mash, beans on toast, and fish n' chips. I ran the streets of the desert every single morning and photographed all signs of spring. I took in the blue skies and the warm sun on my skin. 

I returned to 35 degree Providence and went through reoccurring stages of homesickness combined with jet lag. I began my spring classes, returned to frappuccino-land (aka work), and now I am here, trying to find myself again.

I spent yesterday afternoon in the kitchen, a place I hardly touched for four weeks, and lost myself in music and flour. I'm ready to return to the blogging world with high hopes and bright ideas. I spoke to meatball, my cat, about them. She approves and vowed to stand by my side, in the kitchen sink, while I bake. I'm holding her to that promise, which I know she will keep. She's such a committed little thing.

So here's our first creation ("our" being my cat and I): an apple and pear crisp to welcome the first day of spring.
PS: don't worry, she washed her paws first. 

Pear and Apple Crisp (gluten free, vegan optional)
  • 2 bosc pears 
  • 2 granny smith apples 
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup rolled oats 
  • 1/3 cup oat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup earth balance or butter, cold
  • powdered sugar to garnish (optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Peel, core, and dice the pears and apples into medium-sized chunks.
    3. In a medium bowl, stir the prepared fruit with orange zest, lemon zest, fresh orange juice, fresh lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and cornstarch. Place the mixture into an 8" pan or dish.
    4. Make the topping: combine rolled oats, oat flour, brown sugar, and salt. Use your hands to rub the butter into the oat mixture until crumbly. Place the topping on top of the fruit.
    5. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the topping is brown and the filling is bubbly. *for a very crisp topping, switch the oven to broil for the last 10 minutes.
    6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm - don't forget the ice cream, I did (sad face).

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    © A Little Baker
    Maira Gall