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Desserts

Apple-pear crisp

Apple-pear crisp
Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Some people predicted that this story would be written from prison, where I would be doing time for involuntary manslaughter in the accidental poisoning of one or more dinner guests. That's the level of confidence my cooking usually inspires. And ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Active work time: 25 minutes | Serves 6
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds or pecans
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples
  • 2 large firm ripe pears
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy or dark rum, optional
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them until they're fragrant and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Set them aside.

Step 2Peel and core the apples and pears and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Spread the fruit evenly over the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish. If desired, sprinkle the fruit with the brandy or rum.

Step 3Combine the flour, granulated and brown sugars, lemon zest, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Mix in the nuts.

Step 4Spread the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake the crisp until the fruit is tender and the crust is lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm, if desired, with vanilla ice cream.

Note: You can add half a cup of fresh, rinsed cranberries to the apple-pear mixture before spreading on the sugar topping. Or, for a summer crisp, substitute peaches and nectarines for the apples and pears. From "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cooking Basics.".

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