Life lesson for the day: make (best) friends with someone who owns pear trees. I’m serious!
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.
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.
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.
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.
This recipe is dedicated to you, my former local pear supplier. Maybe one of these years we’ll both own our own fruit trees!Print
Pear Crisp with Crunchy Oat Topping
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
Looking for an easy dessert using fresh pears? Try this warm and comforting fruit crisp with a crunchy oat topping.
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 baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the Filling:
- 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.
- Whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch in a large bowl.
- Stir in the pears until each piece is entirely coated in the mixture.
- Spread the mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
For the Topping:
- Stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. With your hands or with a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until a crumbly dough forms.
- Squeeze the dough into clumps of various sizes. Sprinkle it all over the top of the pear mixture in an even layer.
- 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.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Crisp
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: crisp, crumble, pear, oat, cinnamon, fall
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
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
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
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. With your hands or with a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until a crumbly mixture forms.
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
Spread the fruit mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan.
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
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.
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 summer versions of this sweet casserole, try our recipes for an easy peach crisp and a peach blueberry crisp with an oat nut topping.
Love using the delicious pear as much as we do? Make some of our other favorite sweet recipes:
- Apple Pear Pie with Cardamon and Ginger (hey, sometimes apples and pears can play nice together)
- Italian Fruit-Filled Cookies
- Phyllo Tarts
- Maple Crostini
- Pear and Ricotta Stacks
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 23, 2021 at 17:21 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.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer 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's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
11 thoughts on “Warm and Comforting Pear Crisp with Crunchy Oat Topping”
Such a wonderfully delicious looking crisp!!
Oh my… I think I have to make this – yum!
I made this but the filling was so so runny! Should I use more cornstarch next time?
Hey, Alexis! Pears can be a little finicky with how much moisture they release. I would definitely suggest to increase the cornstarch for next time. Try a full teaspoon!
Oh, I’m such a sucker for a fruit crisp! I’m almost certain I’ll be trying this one out by the end of the week.
This looks like my kind of crisp. I’ll have to give it a go next time I purchase some fruit.
Hi Nikki, Mine doesn’t look crispy and even a little powdery. Should I set the oven higher next time or just add more heat to the last 10 minutes or so? Thank you, Denise
baking powder???? Where does it say how much baking powder?? I’m in the middle of the recipe for a group tonight. Skip the baking powder or what???
Oh, Mary – I’m so sorry about this mistake! The recipe has been reviewed and is now updated. We appreciate you finding our error, but we are so sorry you discovered it midway through making the recipe! The crumb topping would have been fine without the baking powder, but I like to add 1/4 teaspoon to the mixture to make it slightly more tender.
I have your pear crisp recipe in the oven right now. I love pears. Favorite fruit. I also make pear pies. I added a bit of ginger and mace to your recipe as I use them both in the pear pies. Not sure why, because my mom was an avid baker, but, I’d never had pear crisp or pie til recently. I like them even more than apple pies and crisps.
I just took it from the oven. I wish I could send a photo. It is a beauty and smells so good. I took a video too of the bubbling sauce. Can’t wait to try it.