James Beard Award winning pastry chef Claudia Fleming has re-released her beloved cookbook, "The Last Course" which includes this classic fruity dessert. It pairs beautifully with scoops of a tart sorbet or crème fraîche, but is also delicious with plain ol' vanilla ice cream.
- 1 Cup dried sour cherries
- Water or fruity red wine, such as a Zinfandel, to cover the cherries
- 2 1/2 Pounds ripe pears (about 8), peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 Cup plus 1 tablespoon coursely ground almonds, toasted
- 1/4 Cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
In a small saucepan, combine the cherries with enough water or wine (or a combination) to cover them by 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then turn off the heat and let cool. Let the cherries soak overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least 8 hours, until they are plump and soft. Drain the cherries, reserving the juices.
In a large bowl, combine the pears, drained cherries and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and toss well.
Mix in 1/2 cup of the cherry soaking liquid, or whatever cherry soaking liquid is left plus enough water to make 1/2 cup. Let mixture stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the flour, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly drizzle in the butter and stir with a fork until the mixture is crumbly and all the flour is incorporated. Do not allow the mixture to come together in a ball. Break up any large crumbs with your fingers. The crumbs should be smaller than 1 inch in size (otherwise they won't cook all the way through).
Spoon the fruit into a 9-inch baking dish or into eight 8-ounce ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Evenly sprinkle the crumbs on top of the fruit.
Bake the crisps until the filling is bubbling and the topping is browned, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or warm.