Caramel Pear Crumble

crumble.jpg

This pear crumble recipe was inspired by the big old pear tree in our front yard, which I’ve been writing about all week since we picked over a hundred pounds of pears from it last weekend.  I thought a pear crumble would work well with the texture of the pears. They are firm, similar to a Bosc pear. Our neighbors don’t remember what variety they planted, but I suspect it is a Winter Nellis Pear Tree.

If you are using store-bought pears, I would recommend using Bosc. There are so many varieties of pears. The website usapears.org has a list of the most common species of pear trees in the United States. Ours wasn’t on there. I just looked through pictures online and compared bloom and harvest dates to come to the name Winter Nellis. That’s my best guess anyway.

Begin with about six large ripe pears. Peel them and cut out any dark spots. We don’t spray our trees so there are almost always spots to remove. The bees love to bore into the fruit so you don’t often find one in pristine shape. That’s the price of a natural tree and happy pollinators, but it’s one I’m willing to pay. Next, core your pears to be sure you remove any seeds and harder flesh in the middle. Cut up the remaining pears into chunks.

Put your chunked pears into a large bowl and add two tablespoons of lemon juice, three tablespoons of flour, a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and a quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Stir to mix well.

Now comes the best part: caramel! You can make your own caramel if you like. There are lots of easy recipes out there. If you are looking for a classic, try the “Caramel Syrup” recipe in the Joy of Cooking. I am usually making this recipe while I’m trying to get dinner ready too so I have most often opted for the quick route of using bottled caramel sauce, which we often have on hand for sundaes. My favorite kind is Smucker’s Sea Salt Caramel.

caramel.jpg

I pour in about half of an 11.5-ounce jar and mix that to coat the pears in caramel.

coated pears

Pour your pear mixture into a 7×11 Pyrex pan or other similar sized baking dish. Then you are ready to make the topping.

For the crumble topping, measure out one cup each of brown sugar, whole wheat flour, and old-fashioned oats. Add these to a medium bowl, along with one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a half teaspoon of salt. Finally, soften a stick and a half of butter (about 30 seconds in the microwave will do the trick). Stir this in as well until the topping is clumpy and crumbly. Spread it evenly over your pear mixture. Taste a bit – it’s heavenly!

topping

Put your full baking dish into a preheated oven at 350 degrees. It will cook about fifty minutes. When the crumble topping turns darker brown and you can see the pear and caramel filling bubbling, it is ready to come out. After you remove it from the oven, let it sit for about twenty minutes. It will smell so lovely when it comes out of the oven and you’ll want to taste it right away but we learned the hard way it’s better to wait. That crumble will be very hot when it comes out of the oven!

After you’ve given it time to cool a bit, dish out individual servings into small bowls and top them off with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream. Finally, finish each dish with a bit more of the caramel sauce you added to the pears earlier. Your family will have a new favorite! Even my stepsons, who usually don’t like pears all ate this pear crumble dessert.

crumble finished

Caramel Pear Crumble

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour, divided
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
  1. In a large bowl, combine prepared pears, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of whole wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Pour in about half of the caramel sauce and stir again to coat the pears. Pour your filling into a 7×11 Pyrex baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining flour and cinnamon with the brown sugar, oats, and salt. Soften the butter slightly in the microwave then stir it into the dry ingredients until the topping is crumbly. Pour crumble topping evenly over the pear mixture.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbly.
  4. Remove from oven and let sit 20 minutes before serving. To serve the crumble, dish it into small bowls then top with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream. Finish each serving off with a drizzle of the remaining caramel.

 

Originally published on Countryside Network.

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