Apple Pear Crisp

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar


Every autumn, once the leaves began to turn and the nights drew cold, my mother would herald the new season by baking an apple crisp. With a layer of buttery granola crumbs topping warm, melt-in-your-mouth slices of apple, this was quintessential Midwest comfort food.

In this variation, we kick up the traditional apple crisp by adding pears and a bouquet of spices more alluring than your Starbuck’s PSL. It may not look as fancy as a latticed apple pie, but it is easier to make and far less time-consuming; there’s no need to wait for a special occasion, just bake it for yourself on any weeknight after work.  

Most prefer their crisps served hot, right out the oven, over a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream (or, since this is PhillyGayCalendar, maybe just 8 ounces of froyo from Sweetendings.)

Apple Pear Crisp

20 minutes prep, 40 minutes baking. Serves 8



5 green apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

5 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced

Juice from 1 lemon

½ cup sugar

½ cup dried cranberries

1 inch-long piece of ginger, peeled and minced

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cinnamon



1 cup rolled oats

5 tablespoons cold butter

2/3 cup flour

½ cup brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8  teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons ice-cold water


Preheat oven to 375*

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling, and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

In a wide skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add rolled oats and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden and smelling like popcorn, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves into a food processor. Pulse briefly until evenly mixed. Cut the remaining butter into small chunks and add to food processor. Pulse until butter is incorporated and the mixture becomes coarse and granular, about 15-20 seconds. 

Add cold water and pulse for 1-2 seconds, so that clumps begin to form. Add the toasted rolled oats and pulse once more, enough to mix evenly but not enough to pulverize the oats. 

In a 9”x13” glass or ceramic pan, add and spread the apple and pear filling, including all juices.. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the mixture. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping begins to brown and crisp.

Serve immediately, by itself or à la mode.

Illustration by Michael Liang. Recipe adapted from Anna Thomas’ “The New Vegetarian Epicure”

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