Apple and pear crisp with gjetost cheese

So I actually made this recipe back in November for Friendsgiving, but I somehow managed to forget to actually write out the recipe, so here we are, writing it out in December. I was inspired half by the tarte tatin that will FIVE-EVER haunt my nightmares, and half by this pear and apple crisp I made back in college for my culinary students. The crisp featured apples and pears(yeah, I know, the name didn’t give that away), underneath a brown sugar and oat cookie. I wanted to use walnuts in that original recipe, but one of the chef instructors was allergic, so I couldn’t. But I’m not serving that chef instructor this recipe, so I’m loading it up with walnuts! I am also using gjetost cheese, which is this caramelized goat milk cheese, because it pairs beautifully with the apples, pears, walnuts, and caramel-y notes of the entire crisp!

In terms of the techniques used here, I macerate the fruit overnight in brown sugar and cinnamon, just to draw out as much liquid as possible. That way, I can get a nicer caramelization on the fruit, just like in a tarte tatin! For the crisp, we are making essentially a brown sugar and gjetost shortbread dough with a ton of walnuts studded into it for that crunch. We roll up the dough like a log or like premade sugar cookie dough, and chill that down so it’s solid. From there, we would just cut the log into 1/2 inch by 1 inch cylinders so that those pieces can bake on top of the caramelized fruit to form a relatively even and consistent crust! The topping is super buttery and rich, but it contrasts the bitter-sweet caramelized fruit underneath beautifully! I would recommend eating this with whipped mascarpone or ice cream, but even on its own, this apple and pear crisp is a holiday crowd-pleaser!

For the fruit:
3 bosc pears, peeled, quartered, and cored
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp unsalted butter

Toss the ingredients, minus the butter, around and place into a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight. The next day, sort out the fruit so that you have all of the apples in one bowl, and all of the pears in another, keeping the liquid that drained out the fruit. Heat up a cast iron or nonstick oven-proof pan with the butter. Then add in your apples first, round side down. Pour in the maceration liquid and let that all reduce until it clings to the outside of the apples and they begin to sear. Then place in the pears, also round side down, and allow the pears to sear for another 3-5 minutes, until they have a nice sear on them as well. Keep the fruit on the stove, but with the heat off before arranging your topping on the fruit for baking. If prepping this ahead, allow the pan to full cool before covering and refrigerating.

For the gjetost-brown sugar topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2oz gjetost cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup walnuts

Blend everything together in a food processor until just combined. Place on cling film and roll into a 1 inch in diameter log. Freeze for at least 2 hours before cutting into 1/2 inch-thick cylinders and arranging on your seared fruit. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is completely golden brown. Optionally, grate more gjetost cheese on top right before serving!

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