Spiced Pear and Berry Crisp with Whipped Crème Fraiche

By • November 10, 2010 • 12 Comments


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Author Notes: Last Thanksgiving I wanted to come up with an easy, satisfying crisp, bubbling with the warm, spicy, sweet flavors that I associate with the season. Revisiting this recipe in September, I substituted blueberries for cranberries and was equally pleased with the result. I also made it gluten free. Depending on where you live and when you make this, use your berry of choice. A slightly tangy, not-too-sweet whipped crème fraiche is my preference to contrast the spice; however, vanilla ice cream is also lovely. Note: For the summer season a combination of pears and strawberries or strawberries and blueberries would be divine! - gingerrootgingerroot

Food52 Review: Gingerroot's crisp is a delicious, warm and satisfying dessert. The spicing is masterful, a little kick from the peppercorns, a hint of ginger and tangerine made this stand out. I had to use dried cranberries since I could not find fresh and they worked well. The topping crisped nicely and you would never know that it is gluten free. The creme fraiche whipped cream, only slightly sweetened, made a perfect companion. This is the the kind of fall and winter dessert I love to make, it would be equally good with other fruits and berries. It's so easy to make and the results are outstanding. I highly recommend you try this -- it's really good. - sdebrangosdebrango

Serves 6-8

  • 1/3 cup + 2 T walnut halves
  • For Topping:
  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 1/4 cup golden brown sugar, packed
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • +++++++++++++++++++++
  • For Spiced Pear and Berry:
  • 3 ripe but firm Bartlett or Anjou pears
  • 1 cup whole fresh cranberries or blueberries
  • 1 small tangerine, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons sugar if using cranberries, 2T if using blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black tellicherry peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • +++++++++++++++++++++
  • For Whipped Crème Fraiche:
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
  1. Prepare a 2-quart ceramic baking dish by thoroughly greasing with butter. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer nuts to a small bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the topping: Add rolled oats to food processor. Pulse a few times to break up oats. Add brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. For the Spiced Pear & Berry: For each pear, slice off the stem end, peel off the skin, halve and core. Slice each half into six or seven pieces and place in a large bowl, squeezing tangerine juice on the cut pear. Repeat until all the pears are sliced and all of the tangerine quarters are juiced. Remove any tangerine seeds that may have slipped into the bowl.
  4. Wash and dry cranberries or blueberries; add them to the pears. Sprinkle sugar and pulsed walnuts onto fruit, using a spatula to combine.
  5. Using a mortar and pestle, finely and evenly grind the whole peppercorns. Fold the pepper, cloves, grated ginger, and pinch of cardamom into the fruit mixture.
  6. Carefully transfer fruit to prepared ceramic baking dish. Top with oat-brown sugar mixture, using a spatula to spread over fruit. Bake until top is golden and bubbling, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow crisp to cool slightly.
  7. In a large metal bowl, using an electric mixer beat cold heavy cream until soft peaks form (best to start out slower and speed up as you go). In a separate small bowl, combine crème fraiche and confectioner’s sugar with a spoon until incorporated. Stir crème fraiche mixture into whipped cream, using mixer to achieve soft peaks again, if necessary. Serve crisp warm with whipped crème fraiche.

Tags: Easy, fruit crisp, gluten free, seasonal, spicy, sweet, warm, whipped crème fraiche

Comments (12) Questions (0)

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this, really great spicing! Pears and cranberries are delicious together.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, sdebrango! I really like the contrast of the subtle heat from the black pepper and ginger with the sweet soft pears and berries.

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I was so happy to test this recipe. I could not find any fresh whole cranberries so subbed dried cranberries. In the oven, pretty amazing the genius recipe is the whipped cream and creme fraiche which is served with this.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you so much for testing this! I'm curious to hear how it comes out with the dried berries since the fresh (blue or cran) add a considerable amount of bubbly goodness. When I made it again last week, I could not find fresh cranberries either (which is why I turned to blueberries) maybe I should have tried frozen cranberries. In any case, hope you enjoy!

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

It turned out great with the dried cranberries. The pears I used were super juicy, I was ready to add a little pear juice if it didn't start to bubble but it worked out just fine. Absolutely delicious. Posting a picture of it here hope you don't mind.

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I had frozen cranberries and blueberries but opted not to use them since this has no flour I was afraid there would be too much liquid it actually turned out perfectly lots of bubbly goodness.

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

My picture is #3

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

So glad it worked with the dried cranberries. I'm happy to know it is a good substitution. The funny thing is my original version was not gluten free so I did have some flour in there, but when I made it with blueberries I decided to take it out (so my husband could enjoy it). Thank you for posting your lovely photo!

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Oh yum! May I have this for breakfast, please?

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, EmilyC! Guess what I had for breakfast? (hee, thanks for the suggestion)

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wonderful - LOVE the pepper and cardamom, love the lemon on the knife trick, and love crisps!!!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, aargersi! The pepper gives it an underlying warmth that is a nice contrast to the sweet pears and slightly tart cranberries. Your panna cotta sounds amazing!