Warm and Comforting Pear Crisp with Crunchy Oat Topping

Life lesson for the day: make (best) friends with someone who owns pear trees. I’m serious!

Vertical image of a white bowl with a fruit crisp, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

You’ll have VIP access to the best pickings of ripe, juicy poires. It’s a fruitful (teehee…) friendship you’ll be thankful to have!

While short-lived, I was lucky enough to enjoy a steady supply of pears from one of my culinary school buddies before we both moved away from each other. His family lived on a farm with a couple rows of big, beautiful pear and apple trees in the backyard.

Vertical top-down image of two bowls with pear crisp next to a white towel and fresh fruit.

The apples were tasty, sure. But the pears… the pears were perfect!

I opened my school locker one day, to find a green pear sitting plump and pretty on top of my stack of culinary books. This was the first one of the early fall season that he picked for me.

The first bite I took was a taste sensation I’ll never forget.

Soft and ripe, bursting with syrupy sweetness dripping down my chin.

Vertical image of a bowl of a fruit crumble with a large scoopful of vanilla ice cream.

I remember nearly being late to my class that day, too enthralled and wildly distracted while consuming this heavenly creation from earth’s own soil.

And it certainly wouldn’t be the last one I would eat.

Vertical image of a white bowl filled with a fruit crumble mixture.

Throughout the late summer and fall for just one glorious year, we’d agree to make an exchange with each other: he’d give me a small bag of pears and I’d give him some of whatever I would bake with them.

One day, I made a pear crisp: a layer of pears mixed with sugar and cinnamon, covered in a buttery oat crumble.

The sugars and natural juices from the fruit would simmer and bubble in the hot oven, melting together to form a thick, luscious, cinnamon caramel sauce while the crumble on top became brown and crisp.

Vertical image of a spoon holding some fruit crisp dessert.

This recipe is dedicated to you, my former local pear supplier. Maybe one of these years we’ll both own our own fruit trees!

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Horizontal image of white bowls with a caramel fruit dessert on a white towel.

Pear Crisp with Crunchy Oat Topping


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

Looking for an easy dessert using fresh pears? Try this warm and comforting fruit crisp with a crunchy oat topping.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, to coat the pan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 pounds pears (about 7-8), peeled, cored, and cubed

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Instructions

For the Filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a large cast iron skillet or a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with a thin layer of unsalted butter.
  2. Whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the pears until each piece is entirely coated in the mixture.
  4. Spread the mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

For the Topping:

  1. Stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. With your hands or with a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until a crumbly dough forms.
  2. Squeeze the dough into clumps of various sizes. Sprinkle it all over the top of the pear mixture in an even layer.

To Bake:

  1. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and slightly puffy and the sides are bubbling.
  2. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.

  • Category: Crisp
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: crisp, crumble, pear, oat, cinnamon, fall

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep

Horizontal image of prepping pears.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a large cast iron skillet or a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with a thin layer of unsalted butter, using about 1 tablespoon total. Set aside.

Peel the skin from the pears. Cut into bite-sized chunks. You can also choose to slice them, if you prefer.

Not really sure what variety to use? Go with Bosc or Bartlett, and use them when they are fairly ripe. They will have the most ideal sweetness, and a firm texture.

Step 2 – Make the Fruit Mixture

Horizontal image of a large white bowl with cubes of fruit covered in a cinnamon sugar mixture.

Whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch in a large bowl until completely combined and thoroughly mixed together. Mix in the fruit until each piece is entirely coated in the mixture.

Wondering why we’re using a combo of both granulated and brown sugar? A little bit of brown sugar helps to create a thicker, more caramel-like sauce when the dessert bakes. It offers that extra level of decadence we looooove!

Step 3 – Make the Oat Topping

Horizontal image of cubes of butter on top of a dry mixture.

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. With your hands or with a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until a crumbly mixture forms.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with a thick oat mixture.

If you want a more cookie-like structure with an irresistible chewiness, knead the mixture by hand for a few more seconds to form a thick dough similar to the consistency of cookie dough (speaking of which… have you taken a peek at all of our cookie recipes? They’re delish!). We chose this decadent path for our recipe, reflected in the pictures throughout this article.

Step 4 – Assemble

Horizontal image of a cast iron skillet with a layer of a fruit and cinnamon sugar mixture.

Spread the fruit mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan.

Horizontal image of a cast iron skillet with an oat crumble mixture spread on top.

Squeeze the dough into clumps of various sizes. Sprinkle this mixture all over the top of the filling in an even layer.

Step 5 – Bake

Horizontal image of a cast iron skillet with a baked fruit crisp.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and slightly puffy, and the sides are bubbling with thick liquid from the fruit mixture.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan. Serve warm. With ice cream. Obviously.

Give Apples a Break This Fall. Let Pears Have Some Fun!

It’s true! Apples usually take center stage, with all the apple picking, apple pies, apple cider, candied apples, and apple doughnuts.

They’ve had their fun. Pears want in on some of the tasty autumn action!

With this recipe for a warm and comforting crisp with a cinnamon-infused, ooey-gooey caramel sauce and a buttery, crunchy oat topping, apples have no other choice than to step down from their high pedestal.

Horizontal image of white bowls with a caramel fruit crisp on a white towel.

We can’t wait to use more pears in our cooking this fall season! Do you have any share-worthy recipes? We’re looking forward to hearing from you – comment below, please and thank you!

And if you want a summer version of this sweet casserole, try our recipe for easy peach crisp.

Love using the delicious pear as much as we do? Make some of our other favorite sweet recipes:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on September 8, 2013. Last updated: September 20, 2019 at 18:38 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best cheesesteaks, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

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