Black Pepper Pear Crisp with Salted Oat Streusel

December 29, 2017
15 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Crisp is pie’s shabby-chic, laid-back cousin who opts for hugs over handshakes. Recipes vary on: baking dish (I like a 9” cake pan for its depth); fruit thickness (I like slouchy but not runny); and streusel amount (I like a thick blanket). What they have in common is that they’re sweet. Like, super sweet. Enter our workaround: Toss the pears with freshly ground black pepper for floral, warm spice. Salt the oat streusel, generously. And instead of serving with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream, just set out some cream—or, you know, a lot of cream—to pour and pour on top. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is part of Change The Way You Cook, a new series to help anyone (yes, you!) become smarter, faster, and more freewheeling in the kitchen. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Crisp
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 4 firm d'anjou pears (about 2 1/2 pounds), chopped into 1" chunks (about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Heavy cream, for serving
  • Streusel
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
  1. Crisp
  2. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 9” cake pan with unsalted butter. Set it on a lined sheet tray.
  3. Make the fruit filling. Combine the pears, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, black pepper, and salt in a bowl. Gingerly toss with a spoon (or your hands!) until combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan.
  1. Streusel
  2. Add 1 cup oats, plus the flour, sugar, and salt to a food processor. Pulse a couple times just to combine. Sprinkle the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Continue to pulse until a dough just begins to form—sort of like a shaggy cookie dough. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup oats by hand.
  3. Evenly distribute the streusel on top of the fruit. Don’t worry if its texture is uneven—big clumps here, little crumbs there—that’s just what we want.
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes until the streusel is deeply browned and the fruit juice is bubbly and slightly thick. Wait at least 20 minutes to serve warm. Or, let sit out for hours and serve at room temperature. Or, if any leftovers last until tomorrow morning, meet your new favorite breakfast. In any case: serve with lots of cream.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Amanda
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

2 Reviews

Amanda January 18, 2019
Loved it, as did all my guests. Used an 8 inch square glass baking dish. Extremely tasty!
Emma L. January 18, 2019
Thanks, Amanda—so glad to hear it!