Sep 14, 2007

Pear Ginger Crisp

This recipe is adapted from Eric Gower's The Breakaway Cook. It's one of the best things we've ever eaten. I've made it my own by using my favorite crumble topping. His version has a lower ratio of oats to flour. I like equal parts. I also use turbinado or demerara sugar, which have larger grains and add some crunch to the topping. The smell of this baking will drive you wild. I've made it with Asian pears, as he calls for, and with Taylor Gold pears. I like them both. Even less than ripe pears are fine in this. His recipe says it serves six, but if you're like us, you'll be standing next to the oven digging in and burning the roof of your mouth trying to get at it. I'm not even embarassed to admit that this is excellent for breakfast the next morning, even cold from the fridge.

4-6 pears, peeled, cored, sliced and tossed with the juice of 1/4 lemon
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1-inch matchsticks
1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 cup flour (white whole wheat works well too)
1/2 cup oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup demerara or turbinado sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375. Melt the 1T. butter in a skillet. Add ginger and sauté until it softens. Add maple syrup and cook for several minutes. Add pears and stir together to combine flavors. Pour the mixture into a greased baking pan.

Combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt and spices. Stir together. Slice the butter into small pieces and cut into the oat mixture using your hands (or you can quiz it all together in pulses in the food processor). Texture should be crumbly and lumpy. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake for 30 minutes or until you can't take the smell anymore. (I've done this in a convection toaster oven to avoid heating the whole kitchen up – because you'll want to make this in the summer too.)

You can certainly eat it blazing hot straight out of the oven, as we often do, but it's better if you let it cool down for 10-15 minutes. The juices come together and it's not so runny in the bottom. (That juice by itself is worth making this for. You could cook it down a little and turn it into an excellent ice cream sauce.)

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