October 12, 2010

Apple Pear Crisp... A Different Sort of Homework

A few times a week I get to spend the afternoons hanging out after school with two of my favorite kids -- lucky me! This past week we got home to discover that the day's homework had been left at school. Usually homework is the first thing we tackle when we get in the door (after a big ol' snack, of course), but today it looked like that wasn't an option.

Call in homework #2: baking! We had a couple of apples and a can of pears. It was enough to make a sizable apple crisp for dessert for later. Baking is like having a science lesson -- it's all measuring, following steps, and paying attention to the process. It was a very educational afternoon with the most aromatic and delicious results.

We peeked into the oven regularly because the smells of the sweet baking fruit and  the buttery, cinnamon crumble topping that quickly wafted through the house were too good to ignore. Later, we topped big plates of warm and toasty fruit crisp with scoops of quickly-melting vanilla ice cream. We learned a lot that afternoon about just how yummy and fun creating things with food can be... Sometimes some of the most memorable lessons happen out of the classroom. (And don't worry, the homework was tracked down and completed later... after the crisp came out of the oven!)

Apple & Pear Crisp: adapted from Rachael Ray's recipe for Apple Crisp
2 Gala or Jonagold apples, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 can of pears in juice (drained, juice reserved), or 2 overripe fresh pears, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 T. reserved pear juice
1 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1 T granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/8 cup flour
1/8 cup finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 stick butter
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a 5 by 5 baking dish, combine apples, pears, juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla extract. In a small bowl, mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and butter together  with your fingers and a fork, working it until small crumbles form. Sprinkle topping evenly over the fruit mixture and bake 15 to 20 minutes until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden brown. Top the dishes of apple crisp with scoops of vanilla ice cream and enjoy with your favorite kids!

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