This is an easy autumn dessert that can certainly work for Thanksgiving or the holidays. Fresh cranberries are usually put into action only as a sauce to accompany turkey. I like using them throughout the season in cocktails as well as desserts.
Serves 8 to 10
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for the baking dish
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger, plus more thinly sliced for garnish
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans
¼ cup turbinado sugar
1 cup light muscovado or light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine salt
12 ounces fresh cranberries, thawed if frozen (about 3 cups)
2 pounds firm-ripe pears, such as Bosc, peeled and cut into slices ¼ inch thick (about 6 cups)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
Crème Fraîche Topping
1 cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 Set an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 375oF. Brush a 3-quart baking dish with melted butter and set aside.
2 In a medium bowl, combine the flour and crystallized ginger. Use your fingers to coat the ginger in the flour. This will help to remove some of the stickiness from the crystallized ginger so it doesn’t clump together. Add the oats, pecans, turbinado sugar, ⅓ cup of the muscovado sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the salt. Stir to combine, then drizzle with the melted butter. Use your fingers to stir and pinch the mixture into clumps and clusters. Refrigerate while you make the fruit filling.
3 In a large bowl, combine the cranberries and pears. Sprinkle with the cornstarch and gently toss to coat. Add the orange zest, orange juice, maple syrup, fresh ginger, allspice, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and ⅔ cup muscovado sugar and stir to combine. Scrape into the prepared baking dish, spread out the filling so it is even. Sprinkle with the chilled crumble topping.
4 Bake until the pears are tender, the filling is bubbling, and the topping is crispy and golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes (the bake time will depend heavily on how ripe your pears are).
5 Meanwhile, make the creme fraiche topping: In a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean. Whisk to combine, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors can meld.
6 Cool the baked crisp on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then serve warm topped with the creme fraiche topping and garnished with thinly sliced crystallized ginger.