Adapted from The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming
We have been making this wonderful pear crisp recipe for several years - it is delicious!
From Claudia Fleming:
This is a terrific fall dessert. Soft, syrupy pears and tart sour cherries are nestled under a nutty, spiced topping, which is baked until crunchy and golden brown. At the restaurant, the topping crumbs that fall from the crisps onto the baking tray are one of my favorite snacks, and my staff and I can't resist nibbling on them whenever the crisps come out of the oven. Be sure to bake the crisps until the juices bubble up thickly; otherwise, not enough of the moisture will evaporate and the fruit will be soggy.
1 cup dried sour cherries
Water or fruity red wine, such as a Zinfandel, to cover
8 ripe pears, (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced (5 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarsely ground almonds, toasted
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted parve margarine, melted and cooled to room temperature
Optional: Parve vanilla ice cream or parve whipped cream
In a small saucepan, combine the cherries with enough water or wine (or a combination) to cover them by 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then turn off the heat and let cool. Let the cherries soak overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least 8 hours, until they are plump and soft. Drain the cherries, reserving the juices.
In a large bowl, combine the pears, drained cherries, and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and toss well. Mix in 1/2 of the cherry soaking liquid, or whatever cherry soaking liquid is left plus enough water to make 1/2 cup. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the flour, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly drizzle in the margarine and stir with a fork until the mixture is crumbly and all the flour is incorporated. Do not allow the mixture to come together in a ball. Break up any large crumbs with your fingers. The crumbs should be smaller than 1 inch in size (otherwise they won't cook all the way through).
Spoon the fruit into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish*. Evenly sprinkle the crumbs on top of the fruit. Bake the crisp until the filling is bubbling and the topping is browned, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or warm topped with a scoop of parve vanilla ice cream or a dollop of parve whipped cream.
Yield: Serves 8 - 10
*The original recipe uses eight 8-ounce ramekins. that are placed on a baking sheet and baked. The ramekins are placed on a baking sheet, filled with the fruit and sprinkled with the topping. Bake as directed above.