Revenge of the Pear Crisp

By • September 12, 2011 • 45 Comments

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Author Notes: A month or so ago, we enjoyed a delicious meal with TasteFood (Lynda) and her gracious husband. ChezSuzanne (Susan) and her husband were also a part of this delightful evening. For dessert, Lynda served a berry crisp that sent my husband over the moon. He compared it to his mother's fruit crisp, the first I had ever heard of such a thing. A stab of envy went through me, thinking of my own inadequate and unremarkable apple crisps of the past.

There were more mentions of the scrumptious berry crisp during the long drive home to San Diego. By the time we hit LA traffic, I was determined to produce an updated fruit crisp of my own - and soon. The current theme gave me a perfect opportunity to try my luck with an autumnal pear crisp. Unfortunately, it is still summer here, so I walked past piles of perfect plums and peaches to pay an extraordinary price for a handful of Bartlett pears.

Next, I visited Williams Sonoma to select the precise ramekins I thought Lynda had used for her crisp. Then I began tweaking my recipe, adding lemon zest and crystallized ginger. I toasted sliced almonds and peeled those slippery pears.

When I finally served Larry a warm pear crisp, I held my breath. "Remember how you enjoyed Lynda's berry crisp?" I prompted. "Oh yeah," he replied. "Hers was wonderful, just like my mom's." [Pause.] "But yours is good too, honey." ...Sigh. - Lizthechef
Lizthechef

Food52 Review: Whoever coined the phrase “Revenge is a dish best served cold’ never heard of this gem. It's almost two desserts in one, the cinnamon-flavored crisp covering, laden with toasted almonds, concealing the bounty of ripe pears seasoned perfectly with crystallized ginger and a teensy touch of vanilla. The lemon zest and juice balance the dish so the pears don't taste cloyingly sweet and one-dimensional. In short, this is a classic that I plan to make repeatedly, especially since it got such a hearty approval from my borderline dessert–averse other half! - PanfusinePanfusine

Serves 4

Pears

  • 4 Bartlett pears
  • 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest, or any lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice, or any lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon all- purpose flour

Topping

  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  1. Peel, halve and core the pears. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and place in a shallow bowl.
  2. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and chopped ginger. Stir gently to mix.
  3. Add the sugar and flour. Mix and set pears aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Using a small skillet, lightly toast the almonds over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  6. Using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix for 2 minutes on medium-low speed. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the toasted almonds.
  7. Fill 4 6-oz. ramekins with equal portions of the prepared pears.
  8. Use your hands to shape the topping into a ball. Cut the topping into 4 portions. Again use your hands to pat out a circle of topping to cover each ramekin.
  9. Place the filled ramekins on a sheet pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and the fuit is bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Jump to Comments (45)

Tags: fruit crisp, pear crisp

Comments (45) Questions (2)

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2 months ago Arrxx

Can you make this as one big crisp rather than individual ramekins? Also, I hate to admit this in public, I don't (gasp!) have a stand mixer. Would using a hand mixer ruin this recipe?

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2 months ago Lizthechef

Sure - maybe bake it a bit longer. A hand mixer is fine!

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about 3 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, Lizthechef, this is the bomb. Sooo delish! Many thanks!

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about 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thanks for the glowing review, Panfusine, despite my goofs in the write-up!

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about 3 years ago Bevi

I divided the flour 1/3 c./2/3 c. from the beginning. Today I am using your revised recipe.

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about 3 years ago dymnyno

Every time I read your recipe title I think of a very funny short story by Richard Brautigan called "The Revenge of the Lawn" which is about a pear tree.

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over 3 years ago EdibleExeter

Made this for a party tonight and served it with homemade ice cream! It was a huge hit!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

The homemade ice cream sounds terrific with the crisp - I bought mine...

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over 3 years ago Bevi

Liz, I made this yesterday and we two are still enjoying the individual servings. It's a delicious crisp! I am making this again tomorrow with apples from our own tree - they are tart and wonderful for baking and cooking.

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Apples are my personal favorite - so glad you enjoyed the recipe...

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about 3 years ago Bevi

Well, I made it again. I mean a third time. Someone is very, very happy with it.

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about 3 years ago Lizthechef

When do you want to move in? Your ego boost is incredible... X0 Liz

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about 3 years ago Bevi

Listen, between the success of the corn pudding and now the crisp, you are pretty well liked in this household.

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about 3 years ago Bevi

Okay, I am leaving town for a week. Guess what I was asked to go before the ride to the airport??!!

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about 3 years ago Bevi

Excuse me - typo. "To do Before I go??"

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over 3 years ago ashleychasesdinner

This is such a great story Lizthechef! I can't wait to try this wonderful looking pear crisp!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Please let me know if you try it and how it worked for you.

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Love your story! Pear crisps are awesome, and pears taste great with berries too - maybe your next version will be the one Larry swoons over!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Might I add I'm jealous of that dinner! Would be awesome to get together with all of you.

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thans, hla, I almost added some dried cherries - think I'll try that next time.

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over 3 years ago Bevi

My husband will be over the moon when I make this for him. I am trying to make baked goods and desserts from this site to wean him off the processed brands he likes to bring home.

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

I hope your husband enjoys this!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thanks, ChezSuzanne, re my photo - I took inspiration from Lynda on that as well.

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over 3 years ago TasteFood

I bet Larry just said that in the hope that you would continue to test crisps on him - think of all the crisps he would get to taste :) This one sounds lovely with the ginger!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thank you, Lynda, but yours wins the prize in our house.

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over 3 years ago wssmom

I cannot imagine anything you make being "inadequate and unremarkable" haha this looks really incredible! Must try. Soon!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

What a nice thing to say - how about we enjoy some after a bath of your peartinis ;)

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over 3 years ago cookinginvictoria

Love your recipe and love your story. This sounds like a delicious fall crisp, especially with the addition of Meyer lemon and crystallized ginger. I have put this on my list of recipes to try, once local pear season arrives.

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thank you, civ, I think the kind of pears really affect the flavors here. Make certain your pears are ripe but not overly so that the fruit collapses.

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over 3 years ago Midge

Delicous! And the ramekins are cute too ;)

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thank you, Midge - the individual servings appealed to me too.

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over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

love this Liz. The ginger-pear combo is a knockout.

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thanks, Liz!

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over 3 years ago dymnyno

LARRY!!!!!!

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over 3 years ago EmilyC

Being a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan, this made me laugh out loud!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Now, Mary...

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over 3 years ago EmilyC

Hilarious! Don't know about Lynda's version, but yours looks wonderful!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Lynda's was better...

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

yum.

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thanks, drbabs...

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

The story is wonderful as is the recipe. Served warm with ice cream, YUM!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

And it's a true story, except I left out how much I paid for those darn French ramekins...Thanks.

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over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

LOL!! Lynda's were definitely great - the perfect dessert to a wonderful dinner, but yours look equally great to me, Liz!! I just saved it and will definitely make it as we gradually move into pear season!

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over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Thanks, Susan ;)

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over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I should have mentioned that your photo really looks great! I love how you set it up. It's very inviting.