- 4 cups unsweetened apple cider (no extra sugar added)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 Golden Delicious apples
- 4 firm-ripe pears, such as Comice or Anjou
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 10 pitted prunes
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 1/4 cups fresh coarse bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving, optional
In a large non-reactive Dutch oven, combine the apple cider, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice and bring to a simmer. Let cook for 5 minutes. While the cider is simmering, peel and core the apples and pears. Cut the apples into eighths and the pears into quarters or thick lengthwise slices and toss with the lemon juice. Add the apples, pears, prunes, raisins, and brown sugar to the simmering cider and return to a simmer. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the fruits are very soft and tender but not falling apart, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring very gently so as to not break up the fruit. As the pieces of fruit become very tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer the pieces 1 by 1 to a 9 by 13-inch casserole. When all of the fruit is tender and has been transferred to the casserole, increase the heat to high and cook the cider mixture at a boil until reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the brandy and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and pour the hot cider mixture over the fruit in the casserole.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs and melted butter and toss to combine. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the fruit and transfer to the oven. Cook until the crumbs are golden brown and the juices are bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Serve in small bowls, with ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired.