A Dessert With No Pictures…

Last night we had guests, and in my excitement to serve a yummy dessert I forgot to take a picture! Alas! My brain has been addled by all my studying for the GRE…I can tell you about geometry and analogies but can’t remember to take a picture of tasty food. So instead, I submit a concept (and recipe) for you.

The most famous fall fruit may well be the apple. But at this point, we can get apples year-round thanks to storage and transportation from places like Chile and New Zealand. This has perhaps removed our sense of apples as a fall fruit. Pears on the other hand are nearly a year-round fruit, ripening over a broad range of months (August to June) depending on variety. Yet I’ve seen a plethora of them of late, linking them in my mind with fall.

Perhaps to express my confused seasonality, or maybe just because it sounded good, I decided to substitute pear for apple in one of my favorite deserts, apple crisp. This works best with a good firm kind of pear (Bartlett, Bosc, or what I used, the small Seckel pear). Being as I am lazy, I left the skin on, and liked the slight texture it added (and probably a deeper taste).

My experiment turned out quite well and I happily submit for your fall enjoyment (or winter or spring) – Spiced Pear Crisp.

Spiced Pear Crisp – 5 large servings, or 6 more reasonable ones



  • 2 – 2 1/2 lb. firm ripe pears of your choice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. flour (all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, as you wish)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. (heaping) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mace (or 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice (or cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Crisp topping:

  • 2/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c. rolled oats
  • 1/3 c. chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbs. melted butter (can replace 1-2 Tbs. with canola oil)


1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Chop pears, removing cores, into bite-sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add other filling ingredients and stir until pears are evenly coated with flour, sugar and spices.
4. Chop walnuts into small bits and mix with other dry ingredients in the crisp topping. Once evenly combined, pour on melted butter and combine with fork until evenly moistened.
5. Spoon pears and any accumulated juices into 10″ pie dish (preferably glass) and sprinkle the crisp topping evenly on top.
6. Set aside until you sit down for dinner.
7. Put crisp in oven as everyone heads to the dinner table; bake for 45 minutes until fragrant and bubbling at the edges. Serve warm!

Could be served with ice cream for an extra decadent treat.

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