Cranberry-Pear Crisp


My son is a born organizer.

He spends hours every day putting things into little bins and boxes. He organizes his blocks. His balls. His dad’s office supplies. And my kitchen utensils.

But mostly my kitchen utensils.


While I’m all about teaching organizational skills at a young age, his idea of “organized” is a far cry from mine.

Organized to a one-year-old means that all of the balls are in the drawer under the oven, blocks and assorted canned goods are clearly stored together under the bathroom sink, and all of the lids to the plastic storage containers are in the toy box in the den.



So thanks to my little organizing genius, a dessert that used to take minutes to whip up (like a simple cranberry-pear crisp) now takes me upwards of an hour to get into the oven. Namely because I have no idea where anything is in my kitchen anymore.



I don’t think I really realized how much time my son’s organizational system was “saving” me until the other night when I wanted to make this crisp for dessert at an impromptu dinner party. I specifically picked this recipe because I’ve made it a million times before, and I knew I could throw it together in the few minutes I had before our guests arrived.


I envisioned spending a few moments in the kitchen, then still having enough time to dress the child and pour a glass of wine before the doorbell rang.

Clearly, I was delusional.

Instead, it went like this. Preheat oven. Search through four cabinets to find my glass mixing bowl. Find said mixing bowl in the pantry filled with bags of egg noodles. Move chattering toddler to the living room. Close baby gate to kitchen. Toss pears with lemon juice. Add cranberries. Take sugar out of pantry. Search for measuring cups. Realize I last saw said measuring cups on the screened-in porch in little man’s kitchen (at least he got them into a kitchen…A for effort on that one). Add sugar to fruits. Give cup of Cheerios to toddler, who is banging his baseball bat on the baby gate, clearly unhappy to be locked out. Take out food processor to make crisp topping. Realize the lid to said food processor is missing. Embark on a search for said lid. Find said lid in the cabinet with all of the plastic storage containers. Briefly forget why I got the food processor out of the cabinet in the first place. Pulse flour with butter in food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Go to cabinet that usually stores ramekins. Open cabinet to find that all of my ramekins are missing. Choose a square baking dish instead. Pop crisp into oven. Realize that I just spent 55 minutes making a simple cranberry-pear crisp. Give my toddler a hug and vow to enlist the husband for entertaining him in all future baking endeavors.


If you are a toddler-free household, this crisp should come together in about 15 minutes. Easy peasy weeknight treat. If you have an aspiring professional organizer like me, you’re going to want at least an hour. And a couple glasses of wine. Just for good measure.

Cranberry-Pear Crisp
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

Active time: 15 minutes*
Start to finish: 1 hour
Serves 6

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
Pinch of salt
4 to 6 firm pears, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (6 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cranberries
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make the oatmeal crisp topping: pulse flour with butter in a food processor until pea-size clumps form. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the light-brown sugar, cinnamon, oats, and salt; pulse until large, moist clumps form, about 10 times.

In a large bowl, toss pears with lemon juice. Add cranberries and 1/3 cup sugar; toss well.

Transfer fruit mixture to six 8-ounce ramekins (or a 3-quart baking dish). Sprinkle with topping; bake until fruit is tender and topping is golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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