Pear & Dried Cherry Crisp with Walnut Streusel
A comforting combination of sweet pear & tart dried cherries, plumped up in an orange-scented caramel syrup.
For the Streusel
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
For the Filling
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
- 4 large D'Anjou pears, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and generously butter a 1-1/2 or 2-quart baking dish (I use a small 1-1/2 quart ceramic oval dish, but an 8 x 8 square baking dish will also work).
- Make the streusel: Whisk together the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture begins to clump together. Stir in the walnuts. Cover and refrigerate.
- Make the Filling: Combine the sugar, butter, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla and salt in a medium pan. Stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the dried cherries, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the cherries begin to soften and the liquid is caramel colored and thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, then add the pears (it's important to do this right away, as the pears cool the mixture and prevent it from over-caramelizing); stir until the pears are evenly coated with caramel sauce.
- Transfer the fruit mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the streusel mixture evenly over top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pears are tender and the top is crisp and golden. Serve warm or room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Note: This dessert is best served warm out of the oven. You can prepare the streusel and fruit filling ahead of time, but keep them separate in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, top the fruit with the streusel and bake as directed. The recipe can easily be doubled and made in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The crisp can be frozen tightly covered for up to 3 months. Before serving, reheat it, uncovered, in a 300°F oven until heated through and crisp on top.