Friday, November 23, 2012

Vegan Pear and Cranberry Crumble

eat it for breakfast, eat it for dessert, eat it all day long.
Vegan Pear and Cranberry Crumble.
Pears from the Egleston Winter Farmer's Market and local cranberries. 
When the first local cranberries start to appear, I get uncontrollably excited. Like jumping up and down and dancing for joy excited. Why? Because it means crumble season has arrived. And you guys, crumble season IS THE BEST SEASON. Tart cranberries offset by fragrant pears and baked to warm, gooey, crunchy perfection makes (winter) life worth living. Seriously. It was originally conceived as a dessert dish, but a couple of years ago the dangerous equation of 1 pre-baked thanksgiving morning crumble + 2 hungry and impatient people morphed it into a breakfast dish. So now it's a little of both.
A bit to start thanksgiving day, a bit to end it and a whole lotta carbs in between. 

Assembled crumble, ready to bake.

Breakfast is (sadly) often overlooked on big cooking holidays like thanksgiving and christmas. But breakfast is important, dammit, and cooking on an empty stomach sucks. Enter the crumble. It can easily be assembled the day or night before, stored in the fridge, and freshly baked in the morning. Or pre-assemble it to bake later in the day. One less thing to pull our hair out over about on thanksgiving or christmas morning? Yes please. And hey, be sure to stock up on cranberries while they're available. They freeze beautifully and can provide a much needed burst of color and taste in winter dishes. If pears are in short supply, apples work just fine, or you can do a mix of the two. 
Gorgeous local pears, soon to be crumble-d. 
Vegan Pear and Cranberry Crumble Recipe
(serves 8-10, or two if you're me and mine)

8 pears peeled and cut into roughly 1/2" pieces
3 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cups white flour + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, combined
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup vegan sugar
1 cup vegan butter, chilled
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp salt

If baking right away, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the topping:
In a food processor, combine flour and butter and pulse until small crumbs form. 
Add 1/2 cup of the white sugar, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt. 
Pulse until mixture forms into coarse crumbs. 
Set aside. 
If you do not have a food processor, no worries. 
Follow all the same steps, just cut the butter into cubes and get in there with your hands, working the ingredients until everything clumps together nicely. 

To prepare the filling:
Peel and cut pears into 1/2" pieces.
Combine pears, cranberries, other 1/2 cup of sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
Toss to incorporate all ingredients.

Using about half of the crumble, gradually take the pieces and break them up in your hand, adding to filling.
Toss to combine, making sure things are more or less evenly distributed.

Transfer to an ungreased 9" x13" baking dish 
(or two 8" sq dishes, or a dozen or so ramekins)
Sprinkle remaining crumble over the filling 

Place on center rack in oven and bake for 34-40 minutes or until fruit has begun to 
bubble around edges and topping has reached a nice golden brown color.

If refrigerating unbaked, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store for 24 hours max. 
Take baking dish out of the fridge and allow to reach room temp before baking.
Baked and ready for eatin'.
Keeps for up to a week in the fridge, though (trust me)
there's no way it will last that long. 


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