Pear Plum and Cardamom Crisp ~ a fall dessert that combines soft buttery pears with vibrant plums and warm cardamom ~ yum!
This Pear Plum and Cardamom Crisp was invented to use up some of the fruit that’s somehow managed to escape being baked already. I know what you’re thinking—hasn’t she made about a dozen crumbles already?—well, yes I have, but I’m trying to show you how versatile they are, and remember the Mario Batali clip about scorpacciata? That applies to crumbles, too. Pretty soon I’ll be ready to move on. But not just yet.
Beautiful pears are starting to show up in the stores, but all by themselves they can be a little bland, so I added in a couple of plums for color and a punch of flavor.
You know the drill by now…the base formula for a crumble topping requires a cup of flour or flour-like substance, 5 or 6 tbsp sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp of spice, and a 1/2 cup nuts. Then you’re going to rub in 6 tablespoons of soft butter with your hands until the dough is crumbly. For the fruit part I usually don’t add anything but maybe a squeeze of lemon or a touch of flavoring like vanilla or almond extract. If the fruit is extra tart I’ll toss it with a little brown sugar. You can add in a bit of flour for some thickening, but I usually don’t. I like the runny fruit juices.
This master formula can vary in a million ways. The flour can be part oats, part wheat germ, part whole wheat pastry flour, corn flour, whatever floury stuff you want to use. The spices and nuts can be shuffled any way you like. The butter is pretty standard, but even that can be fiddled with.
These fruit crumbles have temporarily overtaken muffins and scones as my morning ritual. I’m sure something else will come along eventually to take its place, but until the summer and fall fruits slow down, this is my go to treat.
- 1/2 cup of ground almond meal
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 5 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 6 tbsp soft butter
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom*
- 3 pears, peeled and sliced
- 2 plums, sliced
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Mix the topping ingredients together with clean hands until it is a crumbly dough.
- Put the fruit in a square baking pan. Toss with the lemon juice to coat.
- Top the fruit with the crumbly dough and bake for 45-50 minutes until hot, bubbly, and golden. Cover the top with foil toward the end of baking if it's getting too browned.
- This crumble serves 4, but you could double it and bake in a 9x13 pan or any large shallow baking dish.
* Ground cardamom is an exotic cousin of cinnamon, and even though you’re probably familiar with it in Indian cooking, ground cardamom is also used in baking. Cardamom has a beautiful silvery color and it adds a subtle, pleasantly unfamiliar note to baked foods. You can combine it with cinnamon if you want to.