Recipes, Photography, Musings

Tag: easy desserts

Easy Stovetop Apple Crisp

stovetop apple crisp with fork

This easy recipe only needs one skillet and uses ingredients that many of us already have on hand. Featuring sweet, cinnamon-simmered apples topped with a crisped oat and brown sugar mixture, stovetop apple crisp makes a tasty, healthy breakfast or dessert.

Apples are normally associated with the fall months, and apple crisp is normally baked in the oven. However, as we all know, nothing about this quarantine time is normal. I adapted this lovely, simple recipe out of sheer necessity. And because it is quick and easy and made with mostly pantry staples, I am thinking others may appreciate it as I did.

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Simply Wonderful Pear Crisp

Sometimes the most basic recipes are the best. They allow natural flavor to shine.  That is the case with this simply wonderful pear crisp.  Juicy ripe pears give us such a burst of bright flavor, accompanied by a lightly sweet crisp topping and a spoonful of fluffy whipped cream.

pear crispJanuary is a time when good fruit can be hard to come by.  But pears are perfect for this time of year.  They are bountiful at the grocery store right now, and when baked, they deliver such a fresh, sweetness, especially when baked with cinnamon and brown sugar.

I have made countless apple crisps in my time, but pear crisp is somewhat new to me.  And really, I don’t know why I have not made it sooner.  It is my new favorite way to eat pears.  I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, called Savor, by Ilona Oppeheim.  I omitted the walnuts for my recipe, mainly so my sweet son would enjoy this crisp, though I think they would be great in it myself.  But it is great without the nuts too, especially with a dollop of homemade whipped cream!

pear crispSunny days are hard to come by in a Michigan January as well, and it looks like the sun has just come out here for awhile. We will take what we can get, and I will be getting outside here as soon as I can!  We had a sunny day last Sunday, and were able to get out on the lake near our house before the weather warmed up just enough to thaw the ice.  My husband and his friend ice fished while my daughter and I had a few minutes before sunset to walk down to the lake and say hello.  It was so peaceful to be out on the ice at sunset.

pear crispFood can be a great comfort at all times of the year.  In the middle of the winter, when it is often cold and gray outside, and dark in the mornings and evenings, warm food can definitely lift the spirits.  This pear crisp puts a smile on my face, and my family loves it as well.  And it is so very easy to make, which is an added bonus! Be well and stay warm! I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s weekly link party, Fiesta Friday!pear crisppears

Simply Wonderful Pear Crisp

  • Servings: 4
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  • 1/3 cup of all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/4 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup  or one half stick) of unsalted butter, plus a bit more for greasing the baking pan
  • 4 ripe pears (or 6 pears if they are small), peeled, cored, and diced
  • whipped cream (optional)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.  (You can also use four 4-inch ramekins if you wish.)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  With a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture forms large crumbs.

Place the diced pears in the baking pan in a single layer.  Sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over the pears.

Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and fruit is soft.  Serve warm with a spoonful of whipped cream on top, if desired.  Enjoy!


Chocolate Tea Bark

This chocolate tea bark is made with melted semi-sweet chocolate topped with leaves of delicate black tea flavored with bergamot, orange and lemon.  Some fresh orange zest gives it additional color and flavor.  Super-easy to make, this chocolate tea bark makes a subtly elegant and delicious after-dinner treat, snack, or a sweet homemade gift!

chocolate tea barkBark is a festive winter dessert because it is fun to make, and has so many variations.  In this version, I use my favorite tea–called Lady in Waiting–from Wilkinson’s of Norwich, a coffee and tea shop in the village of Norwich, in the east of England.  My cousin moved to the Norwich area a few years ago, and she often brings me a bag of this wonderful tea when she comes back to visit.  It is a version of Earl Grey tea, and it has such a delicate yet powerful flavor. You can use any type of loose leaf tea you wish in this bark, though I am partial to the bergamot/citrus notes in the Earl Grey or Lady Grey types of teas.

chocolate and zestI added some orange zest because I cannot resist the flavors of chocolate and orange together, and with the citrus notes already present in this tea, the orange zest goes perfectly.  The quality of the chocolate also makes an impact, I have found.  Spending a bit more on good chocolate is worth it when making bark.  The flavors of the tea leaves and orange zest are subtle, and they look so pretty! It is well-known that both chocolate and tea have lots of health benefits, especially for the health of the soul.  🙂 I find both chocolate and tea especially good for the soul in the winter, when we seem to feel all pleasant things more intensely due to the challenges of the cold weather and long stretches of darkness.

chococlate tea bark and orangesThe winter solstice is tomorrow, and it feels every bit of winter here today.  We have plenty of snow on the ground and a cold wind is blowing.  Our dog has taken to spending time next to the heat vent in the kitchen, and the kids don’t want to get out of their warm beds on these cold, dark mornings.  This year, I am especially enjoying our Christmas tree lights and the colorful lights out on the porch as they cast such a warm and cozy glow.  We are trying to remember to eat dinner by candlelight, even when it is a dinner thrown together at the last minute.

We are entering the peak of the holiday season, such a special and gracious time of year.  Yes, it is a hectic and sometimes stressful time.  But also, I hope we all will have some time not only to reach out to those around us, but to sit quietly and contemplate.  My yoga instructor shared a famous Mother Teresa quote with us in class yesterday:  “Peace begins with a smile.”  This chocolate tea bark definitely makes me smile, and I hope it does you too.  Peace and Happy Holidays!christmas lights at sunset

Chocolate Tea Bark

  • Servings: the equivalent of two large chocolate bars
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  • 8 ounces of high quality semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2-3 teaspoons of Earl Grey, Lady Grey, or Lady in Waiting Tea, in leaf form
  • 2 teaspoons of orange zest


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Zest your orange peel and measure out your tea leaves.

Break the chocolate into pieces.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or if you don’t have a double boiler, heat a couple of inches of water in a saucepan over low heat.  Place a heat-proof glass bowl over the saucepan (but don’t let the bowl touch the water).  Put the chocolate in the glass bowl and allow it to melt, stirring often.  When the chocolate is melted and shiny, pour it onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and shape it into a rectangle with a spatula, so the chocolate is about 1/4 of an inch thick.  (You may make it thicker or thinner, if you prefer).  Sprinkle the tea leaves and orange zest evenly over the melted chocolate, pressing the leaves into the chocolate a tiny bit.  Let the chocolate cool and harden, about 2 hours, or if you are in a hurry, you can put the baking sheet in the freezer for about a half hour.  When the chocolate is cool and hardened, break it into pieces.  Enjoy!