Tarte Tatin and Cherry Clafoutis not withstanding, pears are the fruit I have always associated with a true French kitchen.
When Grandma Annie wanted fruit, she usually chose a juicy pear. Her mother, Mémére, loved them, too. It took me years to develop a taste for pears, as I found them too metallic.
I like them now, and they are second only to apple desserts in my repertoire.
This dessert was created from odds and ends and leftovers on a winter night in 2007. It was better than I expected, and I've made it a time or two since
I've update the recipe a bit, as I no longer rely heavily on artificial sweeteners. I have also tried this with mixed nuts, with good results.
Here is my original recipe, updated:
Pear-Ginger Crisp with Salted Almond Topping
- 6 D'Anjou pears, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 tablespoon candied ginger, cut into small chunks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cold cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- sea salt to taste
Chop nuts, and blend with flour, butter and sugar. You may start out with a pastry tool, but I find there is nothing like plunging your hands into the mix until it is coarse and grainy.
Pour the fruit into a greased 8-by-8 inch baking pan. Press down with a spoon or spatula. Spread the crust mix evenly over the top; again tamping down. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until crust turns golden brown. Garnish with more candied ginger, if you like.
Note: The crust smelled so good while I was making it, and I sampled a fair amount before I put the crisp in the oven. I love the mix of sweet and salty.
The flavors here are subtle and delicate. That was my intention. I really did not want any single taste to overpower the others.
This light dessert passed the Ultimate Taste Test (that's when leftovers taste equally delicious), and I ate it for breakfast with a hunk of low-fat cheddar cheese.