If you’re planning a special meal this weekend, I have a terrific dessert for you to try – Pear and Berry Crisp from the January/February 2005 issue of Everyday Food. I made it once a long time ago, and then I’ve made it twice in the past 2 weeks for company. It’s ecstasy on a plate! 🙂
One nice thing about this recipe is that you can make the topping up to 5 days ahead; I just made mine earlier in the day. In a medium bowl, I combined 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup of regular sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice, and a pinch of salt. I stirred in 1 cup of rolled oats and then used a pastry blender to incorporate 1 stick of butter into the mixture until large, moist clumps formed. I refrigerated it until I was ready to use it. Please note that this is actually *double* the amount of topping listed in the recipe. My dear mom always said that was the way to go; plus, since I baked this in a 9 x 13-inch pan, I think I would have had a hard time covering the surface area of the crisp with anything less.
When I was ready to put the crisp together, I spread 1 bag (12 ounces) of frozen mixed berries on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. While the berries thawed for 30 minutes at room temperature, I peeled 3 pounds of pears and cut them into 3/4-inch pieces. In a large bowl, I combined the pears with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, the thawed berries, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour and tossed to combine. I put the fruit mixture in a shallow 2-quart baking dish and sprinkled it with the oat topping.
I baked the crisp at 400F until the fruit was tender and the topping was golden brown (45 minutes). After 20 minutes of cool time, I served the crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Heaven! This is just an absolutely delicious combination. I’m used to having apples in a crisp, but the pears are a wonderful change. I’m sure I’ll make this again and again.
TIPS: The recipe says to use ripe pears. Mine have been pretty firm (but not rock hard) each time I’ve made this crisp. The pear pieces end up very tender but definitely not mushy.
If you want to go with the original amount of topping, I would use a smaller shallow dish, like maybe an 8 x 8-inch one. Just make sure the crisp is bubbling before you take it out of the oven to ensure the fruit is thoroughly baked; a thicker fruit layer may need some extra time in the oven.
Recipe link: Pear and Berry Crisp