My Favorite Easy Pear Crisp, gluten-free and regular recipes

As pear desserts go, pear crisp is hands down the winner if you ask me, and this is my favorite easy pear crisp recipe.  It’s prepped in minutes, and after just a few more minutes it emerges browned and bubbling out of the oven just begging for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pear crisp wasn’t on my baking schedule for the week, but when I saw beautiful Bartlett pears on sale at the supermarket I knew it was a done deal.  The pears were perfect for a crisp ~ nice and ripe, but still firm.  I don’t even dare let them sit out on the counter over night, this thing’s gotta happen now.

What’s the dif between a crisp and a crumble anyway? (spoiler alert: not much)

  • both have a base of fruit and a streusel-like topping
  • a crisp contains oats in the topping.
  • a crumble does not.
  • some say it’s the other way around.
  • moral of the story: don’t believe everything you hear or read, even here!
  • takeaway: if it’s got a base of fruit and a crumbly topping made with flour, sugar, butter, and oats it’s a crisp.  Or a crumble.
  • truth: they’re both delicious.

I headed straight from the produce aisle to the freezer section to grab some vanilla ice cream…I know I’ll have everything else I need already in the kitchen to make a simple but totally luxe crisp.

TIP: You can tell roughly how much fruit you will need for a crisp or crumble by arranging it, whole, in a single layer, in your baking dish.  My crisp took 6 pears, so that was pretty close.

Pears are a fall and winter fruit, and one variety or another comes into peak season from September right through to May!  So feel comfortable picking them up even though the snowy months.  I think they’re a lot smarter buy than some out-of–season fruit that’s been shipped halfway across the globe.

Is it ripe?  Check the neck!

Give the area right around the stem a little squeeze, it should give slightly.  You should be able to smell its fruity aroma, too.  These Bartlett pears turn from green to yellow when fully ripe.  But be careful, it’s a slippery slope from perfectly ripe to rotten when it comes to pears ~ don’t dawdle, and enjoy them asap!

I don’t bother to peel most of the fruit I bake with, I like the extra nutrition, fiber, and color that it lends.

Plus the whole baking process is a lot easier.  These pears are at the peak of their season, so all they need is a little help from a squeeze of lemon, a flurry of sugar, and a hit of vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract if you haven’t been initiated into the wonders of vanilla bean paste yet.)

Just fill your chosen baking dish with the chopped fruit, you don’t even really need to measure, if it fills the dish, you’re good.

This whole recipe is very intuitive and tactile.  I like to mix the crumble with my hands, and then scatter it thickly over the fruit.

Don’t be afraid to mound everything pretty high, shrinkage is real and it will happen in the oven!

Always ~ always! ~ put your pan on a baking sheet so that any erupting juices won’t make a huge mess in your oven and set off your smoke alarm.

Whether you decide to go with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or not is up to you ~ for me it’s a matter of timing…if I’m having this after dinner, the ice cream is mandatory.  If I’m having this for breakfast, coffee’s my jam.

My pears were ripe but firm, and they held their shape, while releasing a lot of juice.  If yours are riper, they will break down as they bake, but both outcomes are fine.   I will warn you against trying to make this pear crisp with a pears that are actually ‘crisp’.  If you start with very crunchy Bosc or Asian pears, they will not break down and release their juices in the same way, so steer clear of anything hard.  Here’s a quick rundown of the different pears and their characteristics (from USAPears.org)

  • Anjou – refreshingly sweet and juicy with a hint of citrus. (Baking, Canning)
  • Red Anjou – aromatic, juicy, fresh and sweet (Baking, Canning)
  • Bartlett – signature pear flavor with abundant juice (Baking, Canning, Sauce and butter)
  • Red Bartlett – juicy and sweet with a floral essence (Baking, Canning, Sauce and butter))
  • Bosc – crisp and woodsy with a honey sweetness (Baking, they’re best at keeping their shape, Poaching)
  • Comice – succulent, buttery, and exceptionally sweet (Eating out of hand, Canning)
  • Concorde – crunchy and earthy with a hint of vanilla (Salads)
  • Forelle – crisp, tangy, and refreshingly sweet (Eating out of hand, Cheese plates)
  • Seckel – bite-sized, crunchy and ultra-sweet (Eating out of hand, Cheese plates)
  • Starkrimson – aromatic, moist and sweet with a floral essence (Eating out of hand, Salads, Cheese plates)

TIP: If you are cooking with very ripe pears you may want to add a couple of tablespoons of flour, cornstarch, or tapioca to your fruit along with the sugar and lemon juice.

Crisps lend themselves to gluten free variations because they don’t depend on gluten for texture like cake or breads do.  You can easily substitute almond or oat flour for the wheat flour in this recipe, or use a good gluten free baking mix.  I used almond flour in my GLUTEN FREE PEACH AND ALMOND CRISP and it worked out great.  The almond flour gives it a little nutrition boost as well!

Want to know my FAVORITE Fall desserts on the blog?  Ok, you twisted my arm…

  • PECAN PRALINE PUMPKIN CAKE ~ this cake is tender and moist with the most amazing praline caramel frosting.  It’s always a huge hit and since it’s a sheet cake it works for all kinds of Fall gatherings.
  • BUTTER PECAN SHORTBREAD ~ this is a big hit with readers, and if you’re a shortbread lover I think you’ll like this simple variation.
  • CHEWY GINGER COOKIES ~one of the earliest recipes on the blog and one of the most beloved cookies in our family, my girls grew up on these and still request them every year!
  • CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BREAD ~ another recipe from the very early days of the blog, and probably my favorite Fall treat.  I make it to kick off the season every year.

My Favorite Easy Pear Crisp (gluten-free and regular recipes)

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ripe but firm pears, any variety, I used Bartlett
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
    topping
  • 1 cup flour, any variety (use almond or oat flour, or a good gf baking mix for gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 350F
  2. Wash the pears, there is no need to peel them. Trim off the top and bottom, and slice in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the core, and chop into small chunks. Put in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry topping ingredients to a bowl and toss with the melted butter until well combined. I used my (clean) hands to do this.
  4. Put the fruit in the bottom of your baking dish and spread out evenly. Top with the crumble mixture. It is ok to mound the fruit and topping a bit because there will be shrinkage in the oven.
  5. Put the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any juicy drips. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until browned on top and bubbling throughout. Cover loosely with foil if the topping seems to be browning too quickly.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/easy-gluten-free-pear-crisp-recipe/

Make it your own ~

  • Make a pear and apple crisp by using equal parts apple and pear.
  • Add a few berries (frozen will work) to the pears for a pop of color and flavor.  I like to use raspberries, or even cranberries.
  • Cut down on the sugar ~ leave it out from the fruit, and halve the amount in the topping.
  • Spice it up ~ use a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove for an aromatic variation.
  • Use crushed cookies like gingersnaps in place of the flours.

 

Whatever you do, don’t forget to pin this Favorite Pear Crisp!

As pear desserts go, pear crisp is the hands down winner if you ask me, and this is my favorite easy pear crisp recipe. It's prepped in minutes, and after just a few more minutes it emerges browned and bubbling out of the oven just begging for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. #dessert #peardessert #falldessert #easyfruitcrumble #easyfruitcrisp #crumble #crisp #glutenfree #glutenfreedessert #bartlettpears

33 Comments

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    September 6, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Pears are SO GOOD at this time of the year! Love ’em. Rarely make them into a crisp (or crumble — whatever), though. Need to do that — thanks!

  • Reply
    Marsha | Marsha's Baking Addiction
    September 6, 2017 at 1:17 am

    That crumb topping though! <3 This pear crisp looks absolutely delicious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 6, 2017 at 9:24 am

      I agree, streusel toppings make everything better.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    September 5, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Bring on fall baking season! :) This crisp looks dreamy, especially when topped with ice cream!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 5, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      Amen girl!

  • Reply
    2 Sisters Recipes
    September 5, 2017 at 9:19 am

    This is wonderful Sue! It’s been a long time since we had a good crisp! Can’t wait to make this one!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 5, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      It’s been a while for me, too ~ I can’t think of a better way to kick off Fall <3

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    September 5, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Love this, Sue! It has been ages since I have had a pear crisp, so I can’t wait to cook this one up :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 5, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      I bet you get great pears up in Canada…

  • Reply
    Cali
    September 5, 2017 at 2:54 am

    This looks fabulous! Pears are underrated as a dessert and I’m glad to see you have given them a nice plug in your post. I love that you have left the peel on the pairs – makes prep so much easier!

  • Reply
    Karl @ Healthy Kreation
    September 4, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    This is a great fall recipe. Love that the ingredients were kept short and simple, making it so easy to prepare. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 5, 2017 at 7:07 am

      I have a pet peeve about long ingredient lists, Karl, so I really try hard to keep mine brief and to the point.

  • Reply
    Karly
    September 4, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I am SO ready for fall and all the amazing flavors (dessert flavors, to be exact) that come with this looks insanely good!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 5, 2017 at 7:09 am

      I am more than ready for fall…here on the West Coast we’re always the last to know :/

  • Reply
    Nana
    September 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Sue- I’m making this today. Am I correct to assume oven should be 350?

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 4, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks Nana, just fixed that, and yes, 350F. Hope you enjoy it!

      • Reply
        Nana
        September 4, 2017 at 4:04 pm

        This was simply delicious and such a hit with the family. I substituted pecans for walnuts but followed the recipe as shared here. Thanks Sue!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    September 4, 2017 at 11:13 am

    I adore pears and they bake up perfectly in the best desserts. This beautiful crisp is going on our list of must try desserts this fall. So pretty!

  • Reply
    Joyce Gibson
    September 4, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Can’t WAIT for cooler weather so I can make this. I can almost taste it!~

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 4, 2017 at 10:48 am

      It’s not even cooler here, Joyce, I just made it out of spite! I can’t wait for the big cool down :)

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    September 4, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I just saw Bartlett pears on sale too and now I know exactly what to do with them! This looks wonderful and so easy!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 4, 2017 at 10:06 am

      It’s just starting to sink in with me that when I see fruit or veggies on super sale, that means they’re great and I should make something with them!

  • Reply
    Amy | The Cook Report
    September 4, 2017 at 8:52 am

    This looks so good, pears are one of those things I love but never seem to eat very often so this recipe will definitely come in handy

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 4, 2017 at 9:19 am

      I’m the same way with pears, and I think I prefer them cooked up like this, they can be a little bland otherwise.

  • Reply
    swayam singh
    September 4, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Love this Sue. I soooo need to make these soon. I definitely want icecream with this

  • Reply
    Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated
    September 4, 2017 at 8:27 am

    This makes such a wonderful change from the usual apple crisp. And I bet the vanilla takes the flavours to a whole new level!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 4, 2017 at 9:04 am

      It does, Nicola :) I think vanilla makes just about everything better!

  • Reply
    Pam
    September 4, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Thanks for the rundown on pear varieties. I’m not real well versed in the different ones. The crisp looks divine!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 4, 2017 at 8:10 am

      Thanks Pam, I did that partly for myself, I get so confused…

  • Reply
    Adina
    September 4, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Well, I didn’t know the difference between crumble and crisp. I thought crumble is more British and crisp American. :) But it doesn’t matter, it is one of my favorite desserts, I have never made it with pears though, it is mostly apples, rhubarb or berries. It looks so delicious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 4, 2017 at 6:51 am

      I wanted to give the definitive definition, Adina, but it turns out there isn’t one! Anyway, I think ‘crisp’ has a more delicious sound, so I went with it :)

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    September 4, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Oh Sue, you must have known that I just bought a carton of pears and the streusel is my absolutely weakness. This is a fabulous recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 4, 2017 at 6:54 am

      I love it when I have good timing :)

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