Apples and pears… a simple combo; a surprising delight
Apples and pears are delicious on their own, but together they are superb. Here, the crunchy, tart apples mingle with the soft, sweet pears, making every mouthful of this crisp (or crumble, as it’s known in the UK) irresistibly luscious.
Another depature from the old-fashioned apple crisp: macademia crumb topping!
The macadamia crumb that adorns the fruits brings a rich and delightful crunch, while the Calvados Chantilly spikes things up a bit and makes this comforting dessert as grown-up as can be.
Easy to make, versatile and packed with wholesome fall fruits, this crisp can be served family style for a casual dinner or spooned in elegant dessert bowls for a more sophisticated meal. It all depends on what mood you’re in.
Food & spirit pairing: Calvados with apple-pear crisp
A glass of Calvados is superb here. But if that’s too hardcore for you, then try a demi-sec Champagne or a Moscato d’Asti – both would highlight the apple and pear flavors in the crisp.
Apple-pear crisp with macadamia crumb and Calvados Chantilly
active time: 30 min
For the crumb topping
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 oz (115 g) (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter – cold, cut in 1″ chunks
- 2/3 cup roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts (or blanched almonds)
For the fruits
- 6 medium firm-fleshed apples (Gala, Braeburn, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Macoun…) – peeled, cored and cut in 1/4″ slices
- 4 ripe Bartlett pears – peeled, cored and cut in 1/2″ pieces
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (use a microplane grater)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Calvados or brandy
- 1/2 cup organic sugar
For the Calvados Chantilly
- 1 cup heavy cream – well chilled
- 2 tablespoons Calvados
- 2 tablespoons organic sugar
- 1 medium ceramic baking dish (13″ x 9″ x 3″) – lightly buttered
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Step 1: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Process at high speed for 15 seconds until well blended. Add the chunks of butter and macadamia and process until coarse crumbs form. Do not over-process or the crumbs will come together and form a dough. Set aside.
- Step 2: Place the apple and pear slices in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon zest, lemon juice, Calvados and sugar. Toss well. Place the apple-pear mixture into the prepared mold. Sprinkle with the crisp topping. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until topping is golden brown and the fruits are bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool until warm.
- Step 3: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream, Calvados and sugar at medium speed until the cream begins to thicken. Do not overbeat or the cream may turn to butter. Transfer to a Tupperware and refrigerate until ready to use or up to 12 hours.
- Step 4: To serve – Spoon into dessert bowl. Top with a dollop of the Calvados Chantilly and serve immediately.
- Cook’s note: The crisp can be made up to 6 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Re-heat at 375°F (190°C) for 5 to 7 minutes until just warm and serve as above. The crisp is best consumed the day it is made.