This spectacular pear crisp is an excellent way to use ripe fresh pears, and it's a refreshing change from apple crisp. Pears are usually quite firm when they arrive in the markets, so plan to buy them a few days before your baking day. See the tips, below, for ripening fresh pears.
Serve this dessert warm with a scoop of vanilla or butter pecan ice cream, or drizzle with a bit of light or heavy cream. If you crave a little more texture, add some chopped pecans or walnuts to the crumble topping.
- 6 large pears* (ripe)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar (packed and divided)
- 1 cup flour (all-purpose, divided)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons butter (melted)
- Garnish: ice cream or heavy whipping cream
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Generously butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
- Peel the pears; cut out stems and scoop out seeds and fibers. Slice them thinly and put in a bowl with the lemon juice. Toss to coat with the lemon juice. The lemon juice will keep them from turning brown.
- Add 3/4 cup of the brown sugar to the pears, along with 1/4 cup of flour, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well and transfer to the prepared baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats, the remaining 3/4 cup flour, the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and the melted butter. Mix with a fork until the crumbs are blended.
- Sprinkle the oat crumb topping evenly over the pear mixture.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the oat topping is browned and the pears are tender.
- Serve the crisp warm with a generous scoop of vanilla or butter-pecan ice cream or a drizzling of heavy or light cream.
*The best pears for baking are the Bosc (golden brown, long neck) and Anjou (oval, greenish yellow skin). They're both firm and hold their shape well in pies and baked desserts.
- Plan to buy pears several days before you plan to eat them or bake with them. Pears are picked before they've ripened, so they will likely be firm when you buy them. The best way to ripen pears is to keep them at room temperature. You'll find the stem end is slightly soft when they are ripe. Once they are ripe, refrigerate them and eat or use them in recipes within 3 to 5 days.
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