Yesterday, I was going through a pile of old stuff that had been sitting in a closet at my parents' house. Included in the pile were all my old journals from middle school and high school, which were fascinating and hilarious to read through. The funny part was how angsty I was all the time, about school, family, ballet, college applications, relationships (namely a certain boy named Gabe)...it was all SO dramatic and I was constantly doubting myself and my abilities. It was really refreshing to look back on those experiences and realize how well everything turned out: I got into a great college, I grew so much during the years I spent dancing, and that awkward high school relationship with Gabe was the best thing that ever happened to me. So I guess this is a long way of me saying that this year, I'm thankful to have perspective. It's a perfect reminder to just take things as they come, appreciate the good things in life and learn from the hard things, and remember that everything happens for a reason.
Speaking of being thankful, this is the dessert I made for our second Thanksgiving. It's slightly tart and perfectly refreshing (especially after a huge meal), and the gingersnap crumble on top gives it a little kick. It's a gorgeous, festive dessert for any holiday meal!
Pear-Cranberry Crumble (recipe adapted a tiny bit from Smitten Kitchen...man do I love her!)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup gingersnap crumbs (about 16 small cookies, pulsed in a food processor - I used Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) melted and cooled
2 pounds (4-5) large Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the flour, both types of sugar, gingersnap crumbs, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Then pour in the melted butter and stir until large crumbs form.
In a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish, mix the pears, cranberries, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch, then add it to the fruit mixture and stir until it's evenly distributed.
Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble evenly over the top, and bake for about 45 minutes or until the topping is slightly darker and the juices are bubbling through.
I would recommend serving it while it's still a little warm, with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.