Fall Fest: Pear Necessities

by paige on October 19, 2010

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
serves 10-12

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
pinch cinnamon
kosher salt
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

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

millie October 20, 2010 at 9:24 am

My kids like both but really dig pears too. I prefer a good, crunch tart apple (not a huge fan of the gritty texture of pears).

EXCEPT for this pear crisp recipe which I saved from a couple years ago when I baked under your direction for the Spencertown Academy dinner.

I just made it a couple weeks ago in fact. Delicious and so, so easy. I added oats to the topping this time.

Rachel October 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

Pear and ginger are so great together!
Here is my Fall Fest recipe for Pear Ricotta Muffins

alexis October 20, 2010 at 11:11 am

I adore ginger and pears, so your recipe sounds fabulous! I’m definitely going to make it this weekend and maybe pair it with a ginger rooibos tea.

As a tea enthusiast, I was inspired to craft a sweet pear dish that infused the complex flavors and aromas of green tea with lemongrass/ginger. Here’s my Fall Fest recipe for Poached Bosc Pear with Green Tea & Lemongrass/Ginger/Lavender Honey Simple Syrup

Ranjani October 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

i love ginger – this looks great, and pretty simple too.
I made a pear tarte tatin for fall fest:

Veronika Rojas October 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I made a great panna cotta recipe with poached pears. Its really easy to make and soooo beautiful. I didn’t explain the how to poach the pears in the post but basically all you have to do is boil them in water until they are tender with some sugar and a vanilla bean pod (scraped).

Melissa October 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Yummy! I chose to combine pear with ginger too.
I made a Pear, Honey and Ginger Slab Pie which turned out so yummy! Here is a link to the post.

Alison @ October 20, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Julie October 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm

This looks yummy! Check out my Pear Quesadillas at

Stephanie @ Dollop of Cream October 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I also had a pear ginger combo this week for Fall Fest — but mine is in jam form. I think a crisp would be delicious, too!

Here’s where you can find the jam:

Chef Lisa October 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm
Kathleen October 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

Love ginger with pears and I am making butterscotch pudding today, will check out your recipe, thanks. I made two delicious soups with pears for #fallfest this week.….

diane/napa farmhouse 1885 October 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

i posted a recipe for pear cupcakes with chocolate glaze and discussed my very odd week…cleanse, jury duty or canadian t-day anyone?

Monika October 24, 2010 at 6:50 am

Mmm, my kids *don’t* like pears, so I am always trying to find recipes that will convince them that they are *a good thing*. Oddly enough, they loved pears as babies when I used to poach pears for them with vanilla beans…

So all of these recipes sound wonderful, and I will be trying them out!

My favourite pear recipe is pear bread pudding, made with currants (which, oddly enough, I cannot find here in Geneva).

Maggie Donaldson October 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

Love the idea of this – all that fresh ginger, yum! You might like the Cinnamon Pear Cake with Vanilla Fudge Sauce I did this weekend

Marie-Louise McHugh November 1, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Aaaah! PEARS! Some cook them, poach them, eat them… I paint them. I get so absorbed in their essence that I forget to eat them and they end up rotting in my studio. The way they decay is slow and really beautiful. I will have to do better and try this recipe!

Leave a Comment