You might have guessed by now, I love Martha Stewart. Always have. I think I discovered her TV show around the age of 11 & my exact thoughts were, “She’s good at doing all the things I love. I must learn from her.” Or something like that.
It was a little later in life that I discovered my other favorite domestic goddess: Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa. You see, while I always loved the idea of cooking, baking, decorating for the holidays, etc. I didn’t actually do any of it until I met Mr. FGK. I was 20 just about to turn 21, single, studying for my Bachelor’s Degree & you know just doing typical college girl things like swearing off men & watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy. Then I met this guy, fell madly in love immediately & spent every waking second getting to know him. Turns out, he’s an amazing cook. Boom! There was my motivation. He started teaching me everything he knew about food & cooking. And guys, you wouldn’t believe how little I knew at that point. I actually didn’t know what a head of garlic looked like or that muffins could be made from scratch.
It wasn’t long until I finally began pursuing my love of creating things from the cover of Southern Living & Better Homes & Gardens. Pursuing is the keyword, not succeeding. I burned things, mistakenly left out crucial ingredients & fully butchered many recipes before I got on my way. It was a long time before I was finally making things that smelled & tasted like they were supposed to. It was an even longer time before my creations looked the way they were supposed to. I spent hours slaving away on many a lopsided, unevenly iced cake before succeeding. But while I was learning, Ina was there on the TV keeping me motivated. I loved watching her cook and then trying to do the same.
Around my senior year in college I discovered her Pear Apple & Cranberry Crisp. Now I make it every year as another one of my baking traditions.
This crisp is perfect as a Fall or Thanksgiving dessert. It uses pears, lots of apples, dried cranberries & the zest & juice of a lemon & an orange. I love baked fruit, especially apples & pears. As you can imagine, while this is baking it’s very aromatic. Your entire kitchen will smell like apples, oranges, etc.
This year I used Asian pears instead of Bosc. It was just as delicious, if not more. Also because they are so large, I only needed three of the Asian pears.
The crisp topping is brown sugar, butter, oats, etc. Once you put it all together, it might look like it’s too tall for your baking dish or you made too much. But once the fruit begins baking it cooks down & the dish balances out.
I actually just came across an article the other day explaining the subtle differences in a crisp, crumble, cobbler, etc. It seems there is some confusion on the internet about the differences in a crumble & a crisp. So if you know more about it, I’d be interested to learn.
Also, I learned a neat fact to quiz you on: How did cobbler get its name?
There is the finished product being modeled by my friend’s hands. I made this for another one of our Sunday TV nights & it was pretty much gone within the hour.