Cocoa Pear Crisps

By Rivka
February 12, 2010
55 Comments


Author Notes: I developed these pear chips for an iron chef competition a couple years back. The secret ingredient was cocoa, my fridge was near-empty save for a couple of pears, and I had an hour. I used galangal, which is a bit spicy like ginger, but also delightfully fruity. The result was unexpectedly delicious, the perfect thing to have out on a table during an open house. - RivkaRivka

Food52 Review: These pear crisps aren't the most obvious "Open House Dish," until you taste them, and then all becomes clear: you don't want to be eating big baked dishes at an open house. You want somewhat light, intensely flavored food that can be eaten out of hand. The flavor of these delicious pears, which are seasoned with cocoa and spices, concentrates as they bake, and you end up with a chip that's warped and brown, like a fossilized pear. Don't bake them too long -- you want crisp edges and slightly chewy centers. Then pile them into a bowl, and make sure you tell your guests they're edible! They'll love you forever. - A&MThe Editors

Makes: about 60 crisps

Ingredients

  • 3 very firm pears
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon powdered galangal, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (if not using galangal, increase this to 1 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Halve each pear and use a melon baller to scoop out the core (including the stem).
  2. Set a mandoline to the 1/8-inch setting, and slice each pear half into about 10 very thin slices. Occasionally, the 1/8-inch setting will cause the pears to mush or crumble. In this case, the 1/4-inch setting will work, though the crisps will need an extra 15 minutes or so in the oven.
  3. Mix sugar and spices in small bowl. Place pear slices on rack set over baking sheet. Alternatively, place slices on silpat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with spiced sugar. Bake until almost dry, about 1 hour, turning the slices over and the sheets around half way through to ensure even baking. Cool on rack or sheet. Store airtight up to 2 days.

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Fruit|Serves a Crowd|Make Ahead|Fall|Vegan|Vegetarian|Gluten-Free|Snack

Reviews (55) Questions (3)

55 Comments

cinleeken January 16, 2012
these would be great for kids lunch boxes too
 
sugarmountaintreats December 30, 2011
these were fantastic! I cut them by hand with no problems at all (I need to replace my mandoline...) and used regular ground ginger. They didn't make it through the two days!
 
Le P. December 29, 2011
Yummy! Purist that I am and unable to find the powdered galangal, I bought fresh and actually sliced, dried, and ground it to achieve powdered success. Delicious chips! I'm so glad I doubled the spices for all my effort and was able to make a second batch right away. And I've already had to forward a copy of the link here to one of my guests so she could make them herself…. Thank you!
 
Blissful B. November 28, 2011
Why do you say that they keep for only 2 days? Isn't this a dried fruit, which normally keeps well for months in an airtight container?
 
Droplet May 22, 2011
I really like your idea, Rivka. Just thought I would post my 1 cent: These could be made on oven safe cooling racks ( I think CIA has them) lined with parchment paper. That might contribute to the crisping and ensure curled up edges. Also ,if using cookie sheets, it would be better to use two smaller ones so that the air continues to circulate on the sides as opposed to one that is large enough to serve as a rack itself. <br />
 
Author Comment
Rivka May 23, 2011
Hi there, and thanks for weighing in. These are great tips!
 
Bluejade December 23, 2010
These made my house smell like Christmas! I had three, firm (not ripe) large-medium pears that I spread out over 4 baking sheets. I sliced them 1/8 - 1/4" with a mandolin and they took about 1+ hour to cook. The chocolate made mine look darker than the photo. I think next time I will put the spice mixture into a small sieve and shake it over the pears. I tried using a spoon and fingers but both caused the spices to be kind of clumpy. Still, they're tasty. I agree about using less ginger for those who don't like it. I liked it. This would be great for large apples, too. Thanks so much for a food gift idea that isn't high in calories, but still very holiday-esque.
 
naochan December 20, 2010
I wonder if I substitute the pear with potato, thinly slice it, then fry it just like potato chips. Take them out of the fryer, remove the excess oil, then sprinkle the spices. How will it taste? Will this spice combination be suitable with potato chips?
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 20, 2010
I don't think it'll work with potatoes, but maybe with sweet potatoes...
 
java&foam December 19, 2010
made these the other night...half using a mandolin and half cutting them by hand. even with adjusting the cooking time like suggested for the hand cut ones, I wouldn't recommend making these without a mandolin: the 1/8th inch thickness recommended is perfect in terms of crunch. the combination of spices is to die for (even though i chose to use slightly less ground ginger) and thank you A&M for the idea to make cocoa with the left over spices. thanks for a great recipe Rivka!<br /><br />note for A&M: when you suggest ideas like that during your videos (like you did with using the leftover spices for cocoa in this one), are those spur-of-the-moment ideas or are they thought out ahead of time? regardless, they are almost always great suggestions!
 
simplyrenee December 15, 2010
these tasted wonderful, Rivka.....thank you. i do not have a mandoline so it was difficult for me to get the slices very thin. instead of ten slices, i was able to cut six, therefore causing the pieces to remain fairly moist even after 1.5 hours of drying. great taste though!
 
gingerroot December 15, 2010
Wow, these are really great. I love the slightly bitter cocoa, warm, gingery contrast to the sweet pears. I only have one rack so started with just one pear. I proceeded to eat them all, once they were cool. I can only imagine encountering them at a party - I would be stationed near them! I do not have a mandoline but found that my cutco cheese knife did a pretty decent job slicing the pears thinly Thanks for a fabulous recipe!
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 15, 2010
thanks, gingerroot! Glad you liked 'em.
 
DCfoodgrl December 14, 2010
You've got my vote, Rivka! <br /><br />Great to meet you last weekend. Good luck!
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 14, 2010
Thanks Holly! Great to meet you too!
 
chava December 14, 2010
I second the thought that you need to warn people about lining the pan. I'd grease the racks, too. I just finished a batch, some of which are crisp, some of which are not, but all the pans are - well, really, really messy. I am soaking them (that's another word for procrastinating). They are delicious, but the clean-up might make me hesitate to do them again.
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 14, 2010
It's strange. I also made another batch this morning, lining the pans with parchment. My spices stayed totally dry throughout. I took the pears off the racks, removed the racks, and literally dusted the spices off the parchment into a bowl (and, btw, ultimately added them to warmed milk for the best spiced cocoa ever -- great idea, A&M!) <br /><br />I wonder if the mess created by the spices has something to do with the humidity in the oven during baking. I bet if the pears have a lot of liquid, the oven gets more humid, and the spices clump, whereas drier pears result in a drier oven and thus less messy spices. Thoughts?
 
kellymcmichael December 13, 2010
I wonder how long they stay good? I'd like to bring them along on a trip to family but will they stay good for several days?
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 13, 2010
If you make them in advance, you can recrisp them in a low oven (275-ish) before serving. My guess would be about 30 minutes, but leave yourself more time in case. Enjoy!
 
Kayb December 12, 2010
OK, this recipe gave me problems and I'm not certain why. I cored and sliced my pears, and put them on parchment papere on a baking sheet, which I figured ought to double for a silpat. Sprinkled them with the sugar-cocoa mixture. I did two baking sheets, which necessitated me using two oven racks, since I have a small oven, but I swapped positions halfway through. My pears charred before they got crisp. They never curled on the edges. I suspect it might be that my oven is badly calibrated and my temp was too high, but I also wonder if I used the wrong kind of pear. Mine were Bosc, and were very juicy and sweet. Should I have used a firmer pear? These sliced just fine. I really want to make this work, because I love the idea. All suggestions appreciated!
 
drbabs December 12, 2010
Kayb, I made 2 racks also and the bottom rack burned. I think they need a lot of air circulation to properly dry. Also, I stored them in an airtight container overnight and they softened, but I was able to re-crisp them in a 275 degree oven for about 20 minutes the day i served them--and they have held their crispness. I used bosc pears also, but mine were on the firm side. I think this would have worked if you had done it in 2 batches, and you may have to go lower and slower to get them to dry. But they're really good! So I hope you try again.
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 13, 2010
I'm so sorry they burned! Drbabs and I were chatting offline, and she surmised (and I agree) that if you started with a lower oven and lengthened the cooking time, the crisps would stay...well, crisp. Might want to give that a try; I've got some firm boscs at home, and I'm going to try the lower-slower method tomorrow night. I'll report back.
 
sarahdecker December 12, 2010
I must confess that I was disappointed with this recipe. Too labor-intensive for the quantity of results... and I didn't love the crisps. I loved the idea of them and tried the recipe right away but it didn't work for me... but congrats on being a finalist!
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 12, 2010
Sarah, sorry you didn't like them, but thanks for giving them a shot. Happy holidays!
 
melissav December 11, 2010
I must confess that I just made a batch, took them out of the oven, sprinkled them with salt and proceeded to eat the whole by myself right off the rack. Somewhat embarrassed. . .
 
drbabs December 11, 2010
I can totally relate.
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 11, 2010
Um, let's just say the first time I made these, I ended up needing to double the recipe after eating the whole first batch myself.
 
ashleychasesdinner December 11, 2010
Congrats on being a finalist! I can't wait to try these. Good luck!
 
drbabs December 10, 2010
Hi Rivka. I made these tonight and they were fun and easy and really delicious. I came up against a couple of things that I thought I'd share for others who want to try the recipe. I didn't have galangal, so I used a whole teaspoon of ginger--they were really gingery. I like that; if others don't, they should hold back on the ginger. My pears were large so 3 pears made about 75 slices. I did 3 cookie sheets on 2 racks, and unfortunately almost all the slices on the lower rack burned in 1/2 hour so I don't recommend doing that. And don't ask me why, but on two of the 3 cookie sheets, the spices that fell off the pear slices burned onto the cookie sheets and it took me forever to clean the cookie sheets (I counted it as a workout)--so I recommend that people who make these make their lives easy and line the cookie sheets with foil or parchment. Thanks for a great recipe!
 
Author Comment
Rivka December 11, 2010
Drbabs, thanks so much for sharing your tips from having made them! I didn't have the sticking problem but great advice to line the pans in case others do. And as for ginger, I, too, like spicy things -- hopefully folks who might be sensitive to the flavor will temper it accordingly. Happy holidays!
 
dymnyno December 12, 2010
I lowered the heat of my oven when I saw that they were drying out much too quickly. I also sprinkled the powder on the pears on racks over a large bowl and then put them on the sheet and into the oven so there was nothing to burn.
 
cheese1227 December 9, 2010
OMG, rivka. So inventive, interesting and accessible!! Thank you!
 
jwlucas December 9, 2010
Wow! I have a box of Royal Rivieras we got for Hanukkah that will be perfect for this. Hope I still hav a few that are firm enough.