Cranberry Pear Crisp

I have this weird conflict with traditions.

The thought of them makes me feel all warm inside but they also make me feel a little bit of anxiety. How cool would it be for 20 years from now to talk about all these family traditions we created and to see Andrew carry on these traditions with his family. But, in the same respect, will I get bored from doing the same thing over and over again?

Where’s the spontaneity?

It’s sort of like routine for me. I love routine because it makes me feel on top of things, but then I get over it because it’s so monotonous, but then I get flustered and need routine back in my life.

And so the vicious cycle goes on.

I guess you can say I welcome change. Change is always fresh and exciting — yet so mysterious and a little nerve-wracking.

The traditions I grew up with were pretty minimal. I’m sure my mom did some things when I was a child (like Easter Egg hunting, opening a present on Christmas Eve, Santa stuff), but after my step-father passed away (and the time leading up to that) the holidays didn’t really mean anything. Our family crumbled apart and I’m pretty sure the very last Christmas we had as a family (my mom, stepdad, sister and I) I had to wrap my own Christmas presents. So as you can see, holidays were never the same in our household– they always changed.

They were just another day.

Scott’s family, on the other hand, does the same thing each year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They make the same foods each and every year, at the same house each and every year. While I can respect the tradition and the fact that the foods normally present Thanksgiving and Christmas day are ones we typically don’t eat (hence the need to make them each year for the holidays), I still can’t help but feel stagnant.

It’s really a weird concept in my brain — don’t you think?

I think it’s because my life had been so inconsistent prior to meeting Scott. I moved around a lot, family was a thing of the past, and it just became another day. Stability was non-existent.

But now that I am a mother, the thought creating special family traditions excites me. I never want Andrew to wrap his own presents, I never want Andrew to have a crumbled family, and I want Andrew to feel completely stable in his life that Scott and I have created for him. I want him to have warm and fuzzy memories of the holidays — not memories of a broken family.

Yet, in the midst of all those thoughts, I still worry that I would feel tired of it. What can myself and my family choose to make as a tradition? Are we going to get bored of it? Am I the only one that’s going to get bored of it?

Maybe we can make a tradition to be non-traditional and do something new each year; make a new side dish, go somewhere new, create a new dessert. Something that is not so stagnant. Something exciting! Anything!


Can you tell I’m an over-thinker?

Anyway, from all the thinking I do about family traditions, this cranberry pear crisp was born. Typically I make pumpkin pie (and always will!) for dessert with some cookies or something, but this year I am going to bring this cranberry pear crisp along.

You know, for the sake of spontaneity and tradition all wrapped in one. Wait, does that even work?

It does in my mind and that’s all that matters, right?

This cranberry pear crisp is slightly tart, crunchy because of the pecan topping, yet subtly sweet from the pears and coconut sugar.

It’s really tasty — and even tastier topped with homemade whipped cream and ice cream.

Plus, it has such a beautiful color scheme with the dried and frozen cranberries and pears that it just makes sense to put it on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

So, what do you think?

What are your thoughts on tradition? Do you think I’m crazy on my thinking?

Do you carry on traditions in your family or do you kind of just go with the flow each year?

Cranberry Pear Crisp
Equipment Needed
  • 9x13 glass baking dish (I have this one)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Potato masher
Ingredients for Filling
  • 1 pound cranberries (fresh or frozen, thawed if frozen)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (I love the apple sweetened kind)
  • 3 Tbl water
  • 1½ cups coconut sugar (I get this big bag of coconut sugar)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 firm pears (Bosc are perfect), peeled, and cut into ½ inch squares
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (organic, non-irradiated like this one)
  • Pinch of allspice
For the topping
  • 1 cup einkorn flour, plus 2 Tbl (Find einkorn flour here)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (soaked and dehydrated for maximum digestibility, organic if possible)
  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats (I love Bob's Red Mill oats)
  • ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt (This is my fav. unrefined sea salt)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted (organic/pastured if possible)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dried cranberries and frozen and thawed or fresh cranberries
  3. Add in 1 cup coconut sugar, vanilla, and water; toss to coat
  4. Grab a potato masher and lightly mash a few of the cranberries to release the juice
  5. Add in the rest of the ingredients plus the 2 Tbl einkorn flour (the other cup goes in the topping); toss to coat
  6. Pour into a baking dish
To make the topping
  1. Mix the remaining 1 cup einkorn flour, ½ cup coconut sugar, oats, chopped pecans, and salt; toss well
  2. Stir in the melted butter with a wooden spoon
  3. Use your fingers to take clumps on the topping and place on top of the filling; covering as much of the filling as you can
  4. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
  5. Serve with homemade whipped cream, ice cream or eat it plain and warm.


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  1. Wow, I could have written the entire part about family, traditions, and their crumbling, myself. I totally relate, and feel your emotions. After my mom died when I was 17, my family just cast me aside, and all my known traditions went right out the window. I Still feel the pangs at Christmas that my own kids don’t get to know what it was like on Xmas Eve…A huge family Open House with tons of amazing food, people, singing and even Santa to give presents to the kids. They’ll never take part in the family rag tag football game we used to have in the front yard. But I also love and embrace change. We’re making our own new traditions, albeit on a much smaller scale. So….This recipe looks amazing and I am going to make it this year, and I will think about how both of our families are moving forward and making our own unconventional traditions ♡. Here’s an early Happy Holidays best wishes to you and yours.

  2. First, your recipe sounds delicious and as I am nursing my baby right now, I am wishing a had a big bowl of it right now. YUM! You are not crazy on your thinking at all. I kind of go with the flow, but carry on some of my own traditions that I have created for my little family. I can relate to your family story in a way. My mom passed away 4 months ago, and she really helped keep family traditions going … she will be missed so much this year {by me and my oldest daughter especially}. Her family pretty much wrote me off after she died because they didn’t approve of the obituary I wrote for my mom, yet none of them offered to help me out financially and I didn’t have the money to add extra lines to include all of her siblings and stepmom in it … they say funerals and weddings bring out family dysfunction, well that saying was true for me around her death. So, my kids will not grow up going to large family Thanksgivings and Christmas parties like I did – where you could expect the same traditional food every year. Without my mom here, that won’t happen. Not one member of her family has reached out to me since her death, it’s like they don’t even exist anymore. I am estranged from my dad and stepmom too … so that just leaves me, my husband, our two daughters and his mom. I am so grateful for my little family though, and love the traditions that we share as a family. I love planning our holiday meals with my husband, we both love to cook and share the kitchen together. I am excited to teach my girls about these traditions, and maybe they will carry on some of our family recipes to their own families some day. Wishing you a beautiful holiday season. <3

    1. Ugh Emily! I’m so sorry to hear that. Family can be a really weird thing most of the time. Sigh. Good for you for finding the silver lining and staying positive — it’s not an easy thing to do! Wishing you and your family a beautiful holiday season as well. <3

  3. Mmmm, this looks so yummy! I love it when cranberry season rolls around. If I could, I would grow our own. But I haven’t figured out a way to do that yet. 🙂

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