The Perfect Pear

Almond and Pear Crisp
Though I am ashamed to admit it, I had forgotten about pears. My fruit bowl is infinitely filled to the rim with apples, tangerines and of late – freshly picked pink Florida grapefruits courtesy of a lovely colleague of Alex’s. As soon as summer rolls around, peaches, nectarines and plums join the herd. Once autumn approaches, pomegranates pay a much anticipated visit. Yet the pear, the sweet fleshed and perfectly delicate pear, is forgotten. How could I be such a fool? Perhaps it’s the fact that they are usually hard as rocks when I do consider purchasing them? Or when in the past that I figured they’d ripen at home, I’d forget about them until they were battered and bruised at the bottom of the bowl and home to a colony of fruit flies? Regardless of the numerous excuses that I’ve come up with – from this day forth, the pear shall be reinstated into the fruit bowl hall of fame.
Pears truly are a versatile fruit. They can proudly hold their voluptuous shape or succumb to a velvety puree. One of my favourite ways to savour pears is to eat thin slice along with slices of aged parmesan or grana padano. The salty, complex cheese perfectly compliments the perfumed flavour of the pears and makes for a simple and elegant dessert. For this dessert however, I wanted to feature another maginificent pairing – pears and almonds. I decided to make individual Pear and Almond Crisps. The smell alone is enough to make your mouth water – cinnmon scented pears topped with toasted slivered almonds and oats. It just takes one bite to see what makes almonds and pears the perfect pair.
Individual Pear and Almond Crisps:
Filling:
  • 2 ripe bartlett pears
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbs lemon juice

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Peel, quarter and core the pears. Cut them into a small dice and toss in a bowl with the lemon juice, cinnamon, corn starch and sugar. Set aside while you make the topping.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, oats, sugar and salt and mix well. Next, add the butter and begin to work it in with your fingers until crumbly. Then add the almonds and mix well. The topping should hold together when squeezed.

Divide the pear mixture evenly between 6 ramekins (or a baking dish). Spread the topping evenly over each ramekin and set them all on a baking sheet. Bake in the over for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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