Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Pear, Cranberry, and Gingersnap Crumble
The kitchen project drags on. Paul rewired a portion of the kitchen, put our stove back in place, and put the finishing touches on the ceiling repair only to examine it more closely as we were eating dinner and decide to rip the whole thing out again and start over. We are both perfectionists and noticed that one of the seams was still a bit visible because the texture on the ceiling was not sanded away completely before we taped the sheetrock. Knowing what had to be done to fix it, we decided to make the painful decision to start all over again - and I'm so glad we did because we are about halfway through fixing it the second time and it looks completely flush with the existing ceiling.
The problem with having the ceiling ripped out is that there are no lights in the kitchen. I can now cook things on my stovetop once again, which is a major plus, but if I do not begin cooking before 4:30 pm, it is so dark in the kitchen from the lack of sunlight that I can barely see what I'm doing. Paul came up with a dorky solution to the problem: a headlamp for me to wear. I might look stupid, but at least I can see what I'm doing.
I really have nothing to complain about. This remodel will really improve the look of our home and the functionality of our kitchen when it finally is complete. Plus, the kids have been pretty patient with us during this whole process as has the new puppy. The weather has been fantastic - very warm and springlike. A completely anomaly for January! I've been taking advantage of the good weather and working hard on leash training Peyton. He's doing pretty well so far. The biggest challenge has been trying to leash train him with my three babies in tow. All three kids are really enthusiastic initially when I suggest going out for a walk with the dog. They all happily gather their shoes and umbrellas (with or without rain just because they're cool to carry around) and wait for me as I get Peyton ready. We head off down the block, Matthew taking the lead with Emma not too far behind, twirling her umbrella. Lucy takes up the rear with me but she keeps a pretty good stride. We pass a middle aged couple on our way down the block who give us a smile, wave, and tell me: "What an adorable family you have!"
Thank you, I reply.
Fast forward to about ten minute later and Emma is wailing because "her feet hurt" and she's "too tired to walk" and mad at me because I won't carry her umbrella for her. Matthew is angry at Emma for wailing and walking so slow, so he takes matters into his own hands and hits her which only makes her cry more (naturally). Lucy is crying because she's tired, so I pick her up and carry her while simultaneously commanding the leashed dog. So, I'm disciplining Matthew who starts yelling about how mad he is at Emma, Lucy is crying from exhaustion, the puppy is wound around my legs, and Emma is wailing for really no reason whatsoever. Out of the corner of my eye, I spy that same couple we had met at the beginning of our lap passing us once more on their way back home and this time they keep their head down and stroll quickly past us. Not such an adorable family now, are we? Now the weather is back to being cold so I won't have to repeat that fun outing again for another few weeks.
Before we tore everything out for the remodel, I baked one final dessert in my oven, knowing full well it was going to be a couple weeks before I would use it again. The recipe I chose was a pear and cranberry crumble that intrigued me because of it's use of crisp gingerbread cookies in the topping. Genius! Pear and gingerbread are such a wonderful combination and two of Paul's favorite things in the world, so I had to try this. I'm so glad I did because not only was it easy and a great way to use up those nasty, ultra-crisp gingerbread cookies that I'm not too fond of, but the flavor combination was very festive for the Christmas season! Perhaps this should become our new Christmas Eve dessert?
But really, this dessert was so good that it deserves to be made year round. You can find crispy gingersnaps in the grocery store year-round, or you can whip up a batch of your own! I'll tell you, this was a great way to blow through some slightly stale Christmas cookies. The gingerbread cookie crumble blends perfectly with the flavors of pear, dried cranberries, and fresh orange juice in the filling. Served warm with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream, this was a dessert the whole family was sighing over. The kids ate it the first night, but then Paul and I hoarded the leftovers to enjoy by ourselves for a few nights afterwards. Paul ate 70% of it. Knew he would.
Pear, Cranberry, and Gingersnap Crumble
from Trisha Yearwood
For the Gingerbread Cookie Crumble:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely crushed gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the Pear Filling:
4 pounds pears, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick (8 to 10 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped dried cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons orange zest plus 2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the crumble: Mix the flour, gingersnap crumbs, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture has a crumbly texture.
For the filling: In a separate large bowl, combine the pear slices, cranberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and juice and vanilla.
Brush a 2-quart baking dish with softened butter. Pour the fruit mixture into the bottom of the prepared dish, and sprinkle the gingersnap crumble evenly over the top. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes.