P.A.C. Crisp (pear, apple, cranberry)


Yesterday we had an Autumn Family gathering with the other families from our playgroup we go to Thursday mornings.  I made this delicious crisp, along with the help of my trusty 2.75 year old assistant.  I have to say that this crisp is exceptionally tasty.  No, let's not kid ourselves...it's a complete foreshadow of everything Autumn (which is a GOOD thing indeed).

I was looking for something rustic, simple, and a 'knock your socks off type of good,' to make for dessert.  I actually had never made it before, but I knew my Ina Garten hadn't let me down so far, and her Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook would for sure have a crisp recipe. I made a few adjustments from the original recipe, by using rapadura sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, using cranberries instead of dried, and adding cardamom (since there was orange in the recipe, cardamom screamed to be used).  All of these made it taste great, especially the addition of cardamom.

Since my two year old helped make the crisp, she couldn't stop talking about it the rest of the afternoon.  The party was at 4:00 and she still needed to take a nap.  She had a bit of a meltdown when I informed her that we weren't going to the party quite yet, because she needed to take a nap.  Her eyes quickly filled up with tears and some speaking in tongues began, to which effect something about not being able to eat the crisp was murmured.   Poor girl, she even got a bit anxious as we were walking up to our friend's door, where she looked around for the crisp then blurted with panic, "CRISP! CRISP?"  And yes, she was the only kid at the dinner table eating her crisp after dinner, while all the others were playing downstairs (Then, was it bad to serve this for breakfast to her?  I did put my foot down and say no to the ice cream she requested).


The crumb crust before entering the oven.  Yes it's a lot of topping, but keep piling it on.

And it must be said that I adore all of these ladies whom I get to share life with (almost) every week.  We have been meeting weekly since just after V's first birthday, which is almost two years now.  I love how we have our similarities and differences, yet we still choose to be more than co-mothers, but friends.  Each one of them brings a different gift to my life as a woman, wife & mom.  There isn't judgment on how we parent different or how we fail, but grace, because we understand (period).  I also love how everyone is real & genuine.  No one comes in with a, "Wow, I LOVE being a mother every second of the day (or everyday for that matter)."  But there's also not this, "Whoa, I hate being a mom and my kid is a...."

Instead, it's a sincerity and a realness of "this mothering/parenting job is hard, and I don't always like it, and I'm not going to be fake and make you think it's the best job in the whole world 100% of the time.   But I do value something higher, which means I will give up some of my rights, in order to provide my children with something greater.  I not only value something higher, but love these stinkers so deep it hurts and am willing to go above & beyond for them."  That's who these women are to me and I love them for it.  So thanks Biz, Lindsey, Becky, Christine, Bethany, Megan & Talia--my Thursday mornings (although always running late & a bit disheveled) are my diamond in the rough as a stay at home mom and you ladies' bring out a different spectrum of light in my diamond.


 year's Halloween party before many of the siblings were born.


P.A.C. Crisp (pear, apple, cranberry) (printable recipe)

 Recipe is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook. **A little side note: If you're not familiar with other sugars like rapadura, I would encourage you to start baking & cooking with them.  I get mine from the bulk section at our local Co-op, which is cheaper than buying it pre-packaged in the health/natural section of your grocery store.** The recipe also called for Macoun apples, but I used what I had on hand and I'm not too particular when the recipe calls for say 'Granny Smith.'  Instead, I use what I know could create a good end product and wouldn't dissolve into mush (say Red Delicious).  My apples came from a friend's tree, so I have no idea what they are called.


  • 3 ripe Bosc pears
  • 5 apples (I have no idea what kind I used)
  • 3/4 cup frozen cranberries (that's what I had on hand, but you could use fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Squeezed juice of one orange
  • Squeezed juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rapadura sugar (however, I know most people don't have this, so do 3/4 of the above sugars)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and core the pears & apples. Cut them into large chunks. Put the fruit into a large bowl, toss with cranberries, zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, & cardamom. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely. You'll notice that this is a lot of crisp topping, but keep packing it on and you won't be disappointed.

Place the baking dish on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm (with vanilla ice cream to live on the wild side).