MY FAMILY LOVES pears. Apples, it seems, my kids can take or leave. Me, I’m a sucker for an amazing Arkansas Black or Empire or even, in a pinch, a Granny Smith. But my kids will go for the Boscs and Anjous every time. To accommodate their fruit eccentricities, I often bake with pears (or with a pear and apple combination.)
This is a recipe I’ve been making forever (really) based on one that was first published in New York magazine 20 years ago. (See? Forever.) It came from Bobby Flay, long before the Food Network was even a glimmer in a media exec’s eye, back in the days when Martha was still catering weddings in Connecticut.
This is a great dessert for a party buffet this time of year. It’s lovely straight from the oven, but equally good at room temperature or cold from the fridge for breakfast the next morning. Alongside, serve some sweetened whipped cream into which you’ve stirred a pinch of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and ground (dried) ginger. Or, for a different flavor, try mixing half whipped cream with creme fraiche (my preferred topping for the world’s best butterscotch pudding, too, in case you need more dessert-y inspiration.)
Pear and Ginger Crisp
Don’t think of substituting anything for the grated fresh ginger: neither the jarred stuff nor the dried will achieve the same flavor. I find it easiest to grate the ginger on a Microplane.
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 T sugar
9 T unsalted butter, room temperature (softened)
2 T fresh ginger, peeled and grated–about a four inch long piece, give or take
juice of 2 lemons
10 medium pears, peeled, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Make topping: toast pecans in a small saute pan over medium heat until they become fragrant–just a few minutes. Don’t let them burn! Mix flour, brown sugar, 2 T sugar, the cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl. Using a spoon, slowly stir in butter–the mixture will be crumbly and bumpy–and then stir in pecans.
In another larger bowl, gently stir together ginger, lemon juice, 3 T sugar, another pinch of salt and the sliced pears. Turn the fruit into a baking dish, and cover with the topping mixture. Bake until topping is crisp, about 50 minutes.
FALL FEST IS A cross-blog recipe (and tip) swap–and you’re invited to participate. Simply post your link or recipe or idea in the comments below my post, and also on the blogs of the other participants listed here. Want more information? Get the details (and the schedule for upcoming weeks). My collaborators’ goodies:
Caroline at the Wright Recipes: Three Favorite Pear Recipes.
Caron at To Market, To Market with San Diego Foodstuff: Pecan, Parmesan Scones
Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Sour Cream Pear Cake