A couple of months ago, we enjoyed a delicious meal with Taste Food (Lynda) and her gracious husband. The Wimpy Vegetarian (Susan) and her husband were also a part of this delightful evening. For dessert, Lynda served a berry crisp that sent my husband over the moon. He compared it to his mother’s fruit crisp, the first I had ever heard of such a thing. A stab of envy went through me, thinking of my own inadequate and unremarkable fruit crisps in the past.
There were more mentions of the scrumptious berry crisp during the long drive home to San Diego. By the time we hit LA traffic, I was determined to make a memorable fruit crisp of my own – and soon.
Pears were just coming into season, so I decided on them as my fruit of choice and began tweaking my recipe for pear crisp, adding lemon zest and crystallized ginger. I peeled those slippery pears and toasted sliced almonds.
When I finally served Larry a ramekin with a portion of warm crisp, I held my breath. “Remember how you enjoyed Lynda’s berry crisp?” I prompted. “Oh yes, “he replied, “Hers was wonderful, just like my mom’s.” [Pause.] “But yours is good too, honey.”
- 4 Bartlett pears
- 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 pound cold, unsalted butter (1 stick),/li>
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch kosher salt
1. Peel, halve and core the pears. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and place in a shallow bowl.
2. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and chopped ginger. Stir to mix.
3. Add the sugar and flour. Mix well and set pears aside.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Using a small skillet, lightly toast the almonds over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Set aside.
6. Using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix for 2 minutes on medium-low speed. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the toasted almonds.
7. Fill 4 6-ounce ramekins with equal portions of the prepared pears.
8. Use your hands to shape the topping into a ball. Cut the dough into 4 portions. Use your hands to pat out 4 circles to cover each ramekin.
9. Place the filled ramekins on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes until the tops are lightly browned and the filling is bubbling.
10. Serve warm or at room temperature.