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Fast, Easy Dessert: Pear Vanilla Crisp

pear vanilla crispWith the last of the summer produce fading, it’s time to focus on fall fruit, namely apples and pears. Pears are notoriously delicate and fleeting. And those that are bred for hardiness tend to compromise on flavor. We are lucky our local farmers market has a host of sellers that focus on heirloom fruit. Enter seckel pears. When Brian brought them home, they were a beautiful warm shade of green. As the week went on, they began to blush a deep burgundy. Sweet and tender, these adorable pears are a fall delicacy. If you can’t find seckel pears where you are, use bosc.

The  vanilla in this crisp complements the sweetness of the pears, while the tang of the lime keeps it from being cloying and really brightens the flavor, too. The oats, sunflower seeds, and shredded coconut combine to form a nutty, crisp topping. Cloves lend an excellent aroma.

This easy dessert is a straightforward option for weeknights. If you are feeding a crowd, the small baking dish can fit into your toaster oven.

Seckel Pear and Vanilla Crisp
serves 6-8

for the topping
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
7 teaspoons butter, cut into bits
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of cloves

for the fruit
3 cups sliced seckel pears
3″ segment of vanilla bean
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of cloves
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a small, roughly 8 x 10″ baking dish.

Combine the oats, sunflower seeds, coconut, sugar, flour, salt and cloves in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are crumbly. Cut in the butter with a few short pulses.

In a small bowl toss the pears with the zest and juice, flour, sugar, cloves and salt. Then arrange fruit in a small in the buttered baking dish. Smooth the topping over the fruit evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until it is quite bubbly and golden brown on top. Cool for 45 minutes and serve as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream.

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