Pears, waiting to be baked into our crisp

This weekend, I came across a recipe for Pear Streusel in Martha Stewart Living magazine. (The recipe is mysteriously not available online, so I can't link you to it, but trust me when I say it looked delish.) I had a few pears in the fridge and a bag of cranberries asking to be used, so I thought I'd treat us to a crisp for tonight. Martha's version called for a separate pie crust, as well as a streusel topping. I eliminated the pie crust and used an all purpose topping that works for almost any combination of fruits. I also reduced the sugar a bit.

This can work as an adult dessert or a family friendly side dish. (I say 'adult' dessert because my kids laugh in my face and break into a 'chocolate, chocolate!' chant when I try to serve anything remotely healthy for dessert.) Here's a helpful tip: this crisp (and most others) freezes beautifully. Prepare the entire recipe but don't bake it. Wrap it well and freeze it till you are overcome with a craving for crisp (or till surprise company shows up). Put it directly into the oven from the freezer, but increase the baking time to about 90 minutes and keep it covered in the oven for the first 1/2 hour.

Pear Cranberry Crisp
6 pears, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 bag (12 oz.) frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 stick margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup pecans, broken into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350*.

Combine the pears, lemon juice, flour and salt in a Pyrex pie plate. Mix well. (Here's my favorite on Amazon.)

Combine cranberries, sugar, water and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and mix half the sauce into the pears. Put the other half aside for another use (like serving with meat or turkey). (Freezes great!)

In a mixing bowl, combine the margarine, brown sugar, oatmeal, flour and pecans. Crumble the mixture with your fingers to make a coarse crumb.

Scatter the crumbs evenly over the fruit. Bake for 45-60 minutes, till the top is beginning to brown. It will look quite liquidy but will 'gel' as it sets. Let it rest for at least 1/2 hour or up to four hours.

Cranberries, cooking up into a sauce