Extra-Crispy Pear-Lavender Crisp

This post is sponsored by KitchenAid Canada.

Local apples are not quite sweet enough for my liking yet, but fortunately we have pears from neighbouring province Ontario to tide us over.

Bartlett pears have replaced peaches on my kitchen counter and the first basket I bought fulfilled their destiny in this dessert. I’m a big fan of the super simple slow cooker apple crisp (it’s a great kitchen job for kids), but lately I’ve been craving a really crumbly topping. An extra-crisp fruit crisp.

Fortunately, one of my favourite Canadian bloggers, Charmian, recently released a cookbook titled The Messy Baker and I found just what I was looking for between its beautiful covers.

Extra-Crisp Pear Lavender Crisp | Simple Bites #dessert #pears #recipe

Charmian’s original crisp recipe (see it on Oprah!) is for high summer, featuring blueberries and peaches. Totally delicious? Yes indeed, only it was the creative topping on her ‘Extra Crispy Crisp’ that caught my attention. In a stroke of genius, she uses panko crumbs in place of flour or oats and the result is a buttery, lighter-than-air topping that is very crispy indeed.

I know there blogging superlatives are a dime a dozen these days, but I think it is the best crisp I have ever made! Enjoyed warm from the pan (is there any other way?) it was the mid-morning snack that turned into lunch. Oops.

Extra-Crisp Pear Lavender Crisp | Simple Bites #dessert #pears #recipe

I find pears to be plenty sweet when cooked, so I went easy on the sugar in the filling. I crumbled in a little dried lavender from my patio pots as the flowers are finishing on a few plants and that means harvest. Lavender needs a light hand or your dish can begin to taste like soap.

I couldn’t leave out cinnamon, partially because I wanted my kitchen to smell like fall and the spice marries so perfectly with pears. It also helps to ensure that the lavender doesn’t stage a flavour takeover.

But seriously, this panko topping. It nearly didn’t make it on the pears, because once I tasted the combination of melted organic butter, raw cane sugar and crispy panko I wanted to finish it with a spoon then and there.

Extra-Crisp Pear Lavender Crisp | Simple Bites #dessert #pears #recipe

As we head into a delicious season of fall baking, closely followed by holiday treats,  I want to raise a glass and toast my double oven. It has truly been doing double duty and has given me a year of beautiful baking, roasting and slow-cooking. And I couldn’t forget proofing; homemade breads and buns have enjoyed plenty of warm naps in there, too.

KitchenAid’s Even-Heat true convection in the oven is one heck of a good system for even baking across all three racks. I now can cram several trays of granola in there and not have to worry about anything burning around the edges.

I’m pretty sure my old oven would have burnt the crisp (sorry, bad pun) out of today’s recipe and that would have been a lame start to fall baking. Remember, oven temperatures can vary quite a bit; it’s a good idea to keep a small oven thermometer like this one in the oven for extra accuracy.

Happy Baking!

Extra-Crispy Pear Lavender Crisp
5.0 from 3 reviews
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Recipe type: Dessert
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Serves/Yield: Serves 6
Recipe adapted from 'The Messy Baker' by Charmian Christie. A sublime seasonal dessert featuring an extra crispy topping and just a hint of lavender.
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup raw cane sugar, divided
  • 7 cups chopped ripe Bartlett pears
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place the pears in a medium bowl and toss 1/3 cup sugar over them. Grind 1/4 teaspoon salt and lavender together in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until fine. Sprinkle over pears along with the cinnamon.
  3. Mix pears with sugar and spices; transfer to a 8x8 or 9' round baking dish.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the panko, 1/3 cup cane sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pecans. Pour over the butter and mix to combine.
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the pears; place in the oven on the lower rack.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the pears in the centre are soft when pierced with a fork. Tent loosely with foil if the topping is browning too quickly.
  7. Remove from oven
Notes
If the pears are still slightly green and hard (as mine were) you can still make the crisp. You may have to bake it for 10-15 minutes longer than the suggested time, that is all.

Extra-Crisp Pear Lavender Crisp | Simple Bites #dessert #pears #recipe

DISCLOSURE:

KitchenAid Canada has compensated me for my services and my posts, but all posts represent my own opinion.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. This is up my alley! I adore lavender not only for making my drawers smell lovely, but also for making the humble fruit seem more extravagant! (Did that get weird?) Any hoo, this looks wonderful, and the topping is totally awesome!

  2. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says:

    And now I’m craving an extra-crisp pear crisp. For breakfast.

  3. Yum! And that picture of Clara- so sweet and looking so much older.

  4. Love the last photo! Also, the sound of lavender is gorgeous!

  5. Panko! Who would have thought! Will have to try that…I just found 4 containers of frozen blackberries in depths of freezer that I must use up (…freezer is dying…)

  6. We picked boxes and boxes of pears last week, so I’ve been on the hunt for recipes to use with the pears. I’m canning most of them, but with so many boxes of fresh fruit, a few good desserts and salads are in order. Can’t wait to try this! I love the addition of lavender!

  7. This looks divine, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a pear crisp before. And David Leites was posting photos of pear pie today on his Instagram feed, and it got me thinking about how I don’t think I’ve ever had a pear pie either. Strange, isn’t it?
    Oven thermometers are the best. They take the guessing game out of baking! I can’t live without mine.

  8. I just ordered Charmian’s cookbook, can’t wait to get it. I am totally in love with your double oven.

  9. What a beautiful crisp. Love the combination of pears and lavender!

  10. So lovely Aimee! Want 🙂

  11. I just LOVE pears!! I think the addition of lavender is lovely Aimee.

  12. What a delicious looking crisp! I love that you used lavender in this and that topping!! Absolutely divine, Aimee!

  13. I LOVE the panko topping on this pie. I gonna have to give that a go!

  14. Crispy panko topping?!? Sign me up! Love the last click with Clara 🙂

  15. I love the idea of using panko as the topping. It looks delightful!

  16. I think pears just might be my most favorite. this recipe looks FABULOUS, aimee.

  17. Your pictures are just gorgeous! Love your little helper. I haven’t tried pear crisp. It sounds lovely.

  18. The ingredient list calls for 2/3 cup sugar divided, but the instructions only list adding sugar once. Does the other portion go in the topping?

    Thanks!

  19. This is probably the best looking crisp I have ever seen. I especially love the rustic feel of it and that you used lavender. Pinned!

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