Revenge of the Pear Crisp

September 12, 2011

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Ingredients

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
In This Recipe

Directions

  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.

More Great Recipes:
Pie|Fruit|Lemon Juice|Pear|Sheet Pan|Fall|Dessert

Reviews (45) Questions (3)

45 Reviews

caninechef February 13, 2017
Ps. meant to mention that recipe still missing what to do with flour in the topping. I guess not much you could do with it other than add after creaming butter and sugar so all came out fine.
 
caninechef February 13, 2017
Made this yesterday to rave reviews. I made one big crisp and increased volume of filling a bit. I also added my cup of left over frozen cranberries which everyone agreed gave it a nice tart counterpoint. Nice combination of flavors with a lot more depth than I think straight pears would have been, especially the ginger. Thanks for the recipe.
 
Arrxx October 7, 2014
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?
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef October 7, 2014
Sure - maybe bake it a bit longer. A hand mixer is fine!
 
em-i-lis October 22, 2011
Wow, Lizthechef, this is the bomb. Sooo delish! Many thanks!
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef October 1, 2011
Thanks for the glowing review, Panfusine, despite my goofs in the write-up!
 
Bevi October 3, 2011
I divided the flour 1/3 c./2/3 c. from the beginning. Today I am using your revised recipe.
 
dymnyno September 28, 2011
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.
 
EdibleExeter September 18, 2011
Made this for a party tonight and served it with homemade ice cream! It was a huge hit!
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 19, 2011
The homemade ice cream sounds terrific with the crisp - I bought mine...
 
Bevi September 17, 2011
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.
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 18, 2011
Apples are my personal favorite - so glad you enjoyed the recipe...
 
Bevi September 20, 2011
Well, I made it again. I mean a third time. Someone is very, very happy with it.
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 20, 2011
When do you want to move in? Your ego boost is incredible... X0 Liz
 
Bevi September 21, 2011
Listen, between the success of the corn pudding and now the crisp, you are pretty well liked in this household.
 
Bevi September 24, 2011
Okay, I am leaving town for a week. Guess what I was asked to go before the ride to the airport??!!
 
Bevi September 24, 2011
Excuse me - typo. "To do Before I go??"
 
ashleychasesdinner September 17, 2011
This is such a great story Lizthechef! I can't wait to try this wonderful looking pear crisp!
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 18, 2011
Please let me know if you try it and how it worked for you.
 
hardlikearmour September 14, 2011
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!
 
hardlikearmour September 14, 2011
Might I add I'm jealous of that dinner! Would be awesome to get together with all of you.
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 15, 2011
Thans, hla, I almost added some dried cherries - think I'll try that next time.
 
Bevi September 13, 2011
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.
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 13, 2011
I hope your husband enjoys this!
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 13, 2011
Thanks, ChezSuzanne, re my photo - I took inspiration from Lynda on that as well.
 
TasteFood September 13, 2011
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!
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 13, 2011
Thank you, Lynda, but yours wins the prize in our house.
 
wssmom September 13, 2011
I cannot imagine anything you make being "inadequate and unremarkable" haha this looks really incredible! Must try. Soon!
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 13, 2011
What a nice thing to say - how about we enjoy some after a bath of your peartinis ;)
 
cookinginvictoria September 13, 2011
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.
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 13, 2011
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.
 
Midge September 12, 2011
Delicous! And the ramekins are cute too ;)
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 12, 2011
Thank you, Midge - the individual servings appealed to me too.
 
mrslarkin September 12, 2011
love this Liz. The ginger-pear combo is a knockout.
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 12, 2011
Thanks, Liz!
 
dymnyno September 12, 2011
LARRY!!!!!!
 
EmilyC September 13, 2011
Being a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan, this made me laugh out loud!
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 13, 2011
Now, Mary...
 
EmilyC September 12, 2011
Hilarious! Don't know about Lynda's version, but yours looks wonderful!
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 12, 2011
Lynda's was better...
 
drbabs September 12, 2011
yum.
 
Author Comment
Lizthechef September 12, 2011
Thanks, drbabs...