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Pear, Apple and Raspberry Crisp!
This recipe has a bit of a history to it. It is actually one of the few thing that I treasure that came to me from my X-in-laws. Let me back pedal a bit here. My X-husbands family and I didn't see eye to eye. Even though I was eventually able to win over his Grandparents but never his Mom (not for the lack of trying though). My mother-in law Solange had wanted her favorite son to marry a French-Canadian girl like she was. The obvious and perfect choice was her best friends daughter Rochelle. A thorn in my side--- the mother-in-law not the ditsy bleached blond bimbo who had about as much intelligence as the swimming pools dive board, the one she liked to drape herself over---the bimbo not the mother-in-law. Darn I'm on one of my tangents again.
Back to the 60th and 2nd anniversary dinner party. We still rented the guest house from my aunt and uncles friend Gertrude. She had given me permission to use the pool and the pool house/rec room to hold the dinner party. I loved that room it was all gorgeously tongue and grooved cedar nicely aged into mellow dark browns. The best part of the rec room was that it had enough tables and chairs for about 40 people and sported a huge outdoor BBQ made of field stone. Because of that we decided on hamburges and hot-dogs with potato, tuna and curry rice salads for dinner with a spiked punch for the ladies and beer for the guys with ice-cream and apple pie for dessert. A nice outdoorsy pool party with no big to-dos UNTIL... yup you guessed right until Solange stuck her nose into it and ruined the works... "... how can you call that a dinner party if you're planning on serving hamburgers and hot-dogs, you can't expect the old folks to eat that, you have to serve steak that's what they like..." she hoity-toitied (I can still hear her voice grinding at me like a dentists drill) What the dickens could we do? We had just had our first baby we couldn't afford steak for just us let alone for 25 people... what we could afford was obviously not good enough for her highness... We did not own a credit card and even if we did you could not have bought food with it.
ring ring..." Dad... can I 'borrow' 25 steaks from the freezer?" "Sorry, Zsuzs the only beef we have in the freezer right now is roasts... you can have a couple of big roasts or ground beef for meatloaf..." Dad said. I hummed and hawed then he said he would call uncle Steve (who was a butcher) and see what he could come up with"
Well Uncle Steve came up with something alright, he gave me a prime rib roast the size of half a cow, it weighed 2000 lbs, just kidding... it was huge he said it was enough to feed 35 people easy. He gave instructions of how to cook that monstrosity so that it was still pink in the middle... So now instead of a nice relaxing BBQ it had to be a long tedious cooking ceremony. I had to cook the roast in Gertrude's (our landlady's) oven because ours wasn't big enough to hold my Moms roasting pan. This was the first time I cooked a prime rib roast, first time I made scalloped potatoes and the first time I made ...... finally we come to the dessert.... I made Mameres apple, pear and raspberry crisp.
Back to the recipes origin: The pear, apple and raspberry crisp was Mamere's famous dessert, that only she was able to make just right. She had made it so often that she didn't even have a paper copy of it. Whenever there was a family get-together, a pot luck dinner or a church function she was asked to bring her 'Pear, apple and raspberry crisp'. She made it in these massive stainless steel pans that took up the whole rack of her oven.
Early morning the Thursday before the big "surprise party" while I was nursing our five month old son, Mamere calls " Hun, I was shopping yesterday and thinking of you and I bought you a little something, I want you to come by this morning and pick it up". Wayne had not left for work yet so that meant I could drive him to work and keep the car. I said "okay". I loved to spend time with her and Papere when it was just us because I was always able to coax some old stories out of them. I bundled up the baby and off we went.
Both Mamere and Papere looked at me kind of funny--- Both of them coo-ed over the baby then he said he was off to clean out the garage, his workshop (it always looked as if you could eat off the floor out there). It seemed kind of odd but oh well....
As soon as the baby was sleeping she pulled me into the kitchen and said that her arms were hurting her and she was tired of making the same old dessert and she needed my help. The recipe was to stay a secret would I keep it so. I promised naturally because I had noticed the pears, apples and raspberries on the counter... I knew what recipe she was talking about. The one she had won all kinds of ribbons for and the one my mother-in-law had been nagging her about for 30 some years...
We had a beautiful day, as she didn't have a written recipe, we measured and she made me write everything down to the last pinch, trick and tip. I still didn't understand at that time that she meant for me to have the paper version. That all came just before I left, just after I had deposited the baby into the car she handed me a box with two brand new 9X13 pyrex baking dishes. Papere in between time had loaded a six quart basket of apples and pears into the back seat of the car and was handing me a little bucket full of fresh raspberries he had picked off of his pride and joy bushes in his back yard... (I guessed then that's what he did instead of cleaning the garage).
Till this day I still get choked up thinking of the warm and fuzzy feelings that rushed over me when I realized what had just happened. It was not just a silly recipe (which almost caused a family feud) that Mamere and Papere, both were giving me, no it meant that they had taken me into their hearts and accepted me and wanted to prove to me that I was one of the fam-dam-aly no matter what.
Mameres words before I left were that to make sure I used up the raspberries by the weekend so as they didn't spoil just as Papere gave me a big wink... with other words the cat was out of the bag... they knew about the party.
The party was one of many, which turned out to be a riot probably because I felt I belonged. The roast beef was a bit on the rare side but we threw it on the BBQ for the people who liked their meat well done, Papere had brought a bushel of 'Peaches and Cream' corn on the cob--- the first of the season which we roasted on the BBQ too. The scalloped potatoes became my father-in-laws favorite dish of mine. However the crowning---'piece de la resistance'--- was the dessert. My mother-in-law's jaw dropped, she stepped on it and almost croaked. She squealed "...how dare you try to insult Mamere by stealing her recipe...?" Papere calmly said pass me over a piece I need to test it out to see if I had listened to her instructions well. Mamere and Papere both came and stood beside me and Mamere said loudly that if anyone wanted to have Apple, pear and raspberry crisp for future family functions, they would have to contact me because she was officially retiring. This announcement almost caused Solange to have caniption and she huffed away from the party early pretending to have a headache.
Everyone else had a great time.
I've made Mamere's crisp often over the years and I will always cherish the memories attached to this recipe. Even after their grandson and I separated and divorced both Mamere and Papere stayed my friends. They have been gone a long time now, since the 80's. I don't think she would be upset with me for sharing her favorite recipe because she is remembered more often.
- 5 cups Pears peeled, cored and shopped into small bite size pieces
- 3 cups Apples peeled, cored and chopped into small bite size pieces
- 3 cups Raspberries fresh or frozen, either works out well
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Base and Topping:
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 cup butter or margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons of sour-cream (depending on how the crumble hold together)
- Combine the apples and pears and the rest of the filling ingredients except for the raspberries.
- butter a deep 9x13 pyrex pan
- preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit
- Combine all the base and topping ingredients except for the coconut and the sour-cream (when squished the base should stick together into a ball)
- layer a bit more then half of the crumble into the pyrex and really flatten it out, going up the sides of the pan too
- add the apple and pear mix
- gently spread the raspberries just slightly crushing them into the spaces between the applas and the pears
- sprinkle 1/3 of the coconut
- spread about 3/4 of the remaining crumble over top firmly squishing it down
- combine the rest of the coconut and crumble and sprinkle it over the whole top but leaving it loose on top
- bake in oven for about an hour until golden brown
- serve either warm or cold with or without french vanilla ice-cream (my father-in-law for some reason liked it with butterscotch ice cream and frozen cool whip)
The same crumble topping and base works well for date squares, cherry pie filling, lemon custard (the fillings used for a lemon meringue pie) and any other fruit combination even just as a apple crisp.
To read more of the mother-in-law saga you should check out Chicken Paprikas! a Heritage recipe! the link is below.
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