As a great fan of desserts that practically make themselves, this recipe is among my favorites.
It’s a medley of winter fruits, and really shines around the holidays because it features the beauty and flavor of whole fresh cranberries. These little ruby jewels are available for such a limited time, and add a wonderful, bold dimension to seasonal desserts. Sassy, tart, and crisp, fresh cranberries are a strong contrast to their sweet dried counterparts.
Cranberries contain anthocyanin, the protective phytonutrient that gives them their gorgeous color. They’re associated with all kinds of health promoting, anti-inflammatory benefits, and several studies have found cranberries may help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. They actually grow on low vines in marshes, and when the fruit is ripe, the bogs are flooded. This makes harvesting easier, because fresh cranberries float.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of cranberries, I think you may just like this guilt-free dessert. The lightly sweet crumble topping is delicious, and the cranberries contribute a perfectly delightful tang.
It’s prepared in a slow cooker, and ready in about 90 minutes, which is pretty fast in the world of slow cooking. Part of its charm is that the apples and pears retain a little bite (the equivalent of “al dente”).
Throw this easy dessert into the slow cooker and forget all about it until the simmering fruit and spices beckon. It’s homey and rustic on its own, and almost elegant served with nondairy ice cream.
CRANBERRY, APPLE, AND PEAR SLOW COOKED CRUMBLE
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup apples, peeled and cubed
1 cup pears, cubed (unpeeled)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons soy milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
In a medium size bowl, mix together the cranberries, apples, pears, maple syrup, and apple pie spice. Add fruit mixture to a two-quart slow cooker.
In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, soy milk, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit mixture.
Cover, and set the slow cooker on high for 1 and 1/2 hours. Serve warm, and top each serving with nondairy ice cream, if desired.