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They say necessity is the mother of invention. Not so in my book. I think a sense of taste is what invention is all about.

A few years ago, a famous American chef unveiled his brand new (and now surely famous)  apple – cranberry cobbler recipe on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah drooled. We drooled. The famous chef drooled and beamed.

We immediately set to work with the famous chef’s recipe, which Oprah posted to her website. And yet …. and yet we thought: why apples and not pears? Why just a little lemon juice? Why not zest a whole lemon? And why not add some toasted slivered almonds to the topping? Why not indeed!

A little tweak here, a few more tweaks there and now we have our very own delicious invention: our Simply Splendid Pear – Cranberry Crisp. In winter, we offer a plate of this crisp warm, paired a cup of Darjeeling or Assam tea; in summer, we offer the crisp cold or at room temperature, paired with a pitcher of iced Baroness Grey tea.  Vanilla ice cream is always optional in winter or summer. Or a dollop of real Devon Clotted Cream.

The only difference between the winter and summer versions is than in the summertime we go a little lighter on spreading the topping – this allows the fruit to really kick your taste buds!

The Simply Splendid Crisp going into the oven

The Simply Splendid Crisp going into the oven

This recipe has become a family favourite at Christmas and a go to recipe for afternoon teas in the winter months. For the BBQ circuit, we’ve introduced single portions and here’s the best tip of all: this is such a simple recipe to prepare that you can whip it up anytime and feel free to innovate yourself. We’d love to have your comments.

Simply Splendid Pear - Cranberry Crisp


Pears: 5 Bosc pears, cored, peeled and cut up into bite-size squares

Cranberries:  1 cup, fresh or frozen

Sugar:  1/3 cup

Corn starch:  2 tablespoons

Lemon:  1 for the zest; and 1/2 lemon for juice


Rolled oats:  1 cup

Flour:  1/2 cup; we have used white flour as well as whole wheat flour – both flours work very well

Butter:  2/3 cup; cold and cut up into small pieces

Brown sugar:  2/3 cup

Cinnamon:  1 teaspoon

Cloves:  a pinch

Almonds:  1/2 cup – slivers or a little sticks


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a deep dish pie plate

Combine and blend all the filling ingredients in a large bowl then transfer to pie plate. Even out the filling across the plate.

In a food processor, combine the topping ingredients EXCEPT the almonds. Pulse several times until topping resembles coarse corn meal. Remove bowl from food processor and add the almonds. Using a wooden spoon mix the almonds into the topping mixture.

Mound topping over the filling and spread to cover filling thoroughly.

Bake 40-45 minutes until the filling is bubbly.


Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

The Simply Splendid Pear and Cranberry Crisp ready for the outdoor BBQ circuit

The Simply Splendid Pear and Cranberry Crisp ready for the outdoor BBQ circuit