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
Test Kitchen Notes
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! - Panfusine —Panfusine