Let’s talk dessert.  I eat it, yet I hardly make it, most likely because  it requires following a recipe and I just can’t be bothered.
Last week, I took first prize in Iron Chef competition for a dessert. Say what?  Seriously! No joke.  I had my team make apple, pear and berry crumble that won over the judges and, perhaps, gave me a bit of confidence in my ability to make dessert.  My team literally threw things together without a recipe (under my guidance) and the crumble came out delicious, comforting, and as one of the team members said, it smelled like Christmas.
Fast forward to a few days later, I was having dinner with my parents and decided to share my success story.  Sharing apparently was not enough.  Right then and there my mom requested that I make the crumble.  Ahm…. sure!  I enlisted Anja as my sous chef and into the kitchen we went!
Taking into consideration my parents’ palate, I went very light on cinnamon and completely excluded five spice, cloves, and ginger (feel free to use all these spices in both the fruit filling and the crumble topping).
The recipe for the fruit filling is quite loose, however I decided to consult an actual recipe for the topping.  This one came from Dave Lieberman (Food Network).  Anja and I decided to slightly adjust his recipe, however, and used 1/4 cup of shredded coconut in place of rolled oats.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3-4 apples, cored and diced, about 3/4″ (I prefer granny smith apples, but feel free to use your favorite cooking apple)
3-4 pears, cored and diced, about 3/4″
1 bag frozen berries (previously I used a combination of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries; this one had blueberries, peaches, and something else I couldn’t identify)
1/4 cup brown sugar, plus extra if needed
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-4 tablespoons of flour
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut (use unsweetened or sweetened, whatever you have on hand, it won’t make much difference)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4″ pieces


1.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add apples, pears, berries and sugar. Cook for about 15-20 minutes – you want the fruit to be al dente because it will continue to cook in the oven, feel free to adjust the cooking time depending on the consistency of fruit you prefer.

2.  Add lemon zest, juice, and cinnamon.  Increase the heat to bring the fruit juice to a boil.  Sprinkle with flour and cook until the juices thicken slightly.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a baking dish and transfer the fruit into the dish.

4.  In a large bowl, combine walnuts, flour, oats, brown sugar, coconut, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Add butter, and incorporate it with the dry ingredients.  You are looking to form pea-sized pieces of butter that are coated with the dry ingredients, do not overwork the butter.  Evenly sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

5.  Cool slightly and serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  If you have leftovers, serve the next day, warmed in the oven (or microwave) with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

This would be a perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving table.  I’d recommend using cranberries instead of mixed berries.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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