We wanted a simple pear crisp that would allow the fruit’s subtle floral flavor to shine against the sweet topping and spice. Our spacious Dutch oven allowed us to easily increase the amount of pears from the usual 3 pounds to a generous 5 pounds for a more fruit-forward crisp. To keep the pears’ ample moisture in check, we added some cornstarch to the filling. For a topping, we first prepared a standard streusel but found the liquid-y pears washed out the loose mixture. The solution was to replace the cold butter with melted, which soaked up the flour for a more cohesive streusel that stayed crunchy atop the juicy pears. Adding almonds to the topping provided more texture and an extrabuttery note that tasters liked. To give the crisp more character, we traded the typical warm spices for a triple hit of ginger using fresh ginger in the pear filling, and a mix of ground and crystallized in the topping. We prefer a crisp made with Bartlett pears, but Bosc pears can also be used. Select pears that yield slightly when pressed. Serve with ice cream.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
- ¾ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup (2½ ounces) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup packed (1¾ ounces) light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Pinch salt
- 5 pounds ripe but firm Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into 1½-inch pieces
For the Topping
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse almonds, flour, brown sugar, crystallized ginger, granulated sugar, ground ginger, and salt in food processor until nuts are finely chopped, about 10 pulses. Drizzle melted butter over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand, about 5 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. For the Filling
- Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Off heat, whisk in sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, ginger, and salt. Add pears and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit, breaking up any large chunks. Scrape down exposed sides of pot, then transfer to oven. Bake, uncovered, until pears are bubbling around edges and topping is deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pot halfway through baking.
- Remove pot from oven and transfer to wire rack. Let crisp cool for 20 minutes before serving.