The test kitchen prefers a crisp made with Bartlett pears, but Bosc pears can also be used. The pears should be ripe but firm, which means the flesh at the base of the stem should give slightly when gently pressed with a finger. Bartlett pears will turn from green to greenish-yellow when ripe. Although almost any unsalted nut may be used in the topping, we prefer almonds or pecans. Serve the crisp with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped nuts (3 ounces), see note above
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (2 1/2 ounces)
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Table salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 3 pounds ripe but firm pears (6-7 medium), see note above
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Process nuts, flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in food processor until nuts are finely chopped, about nine 1-second pulses. Drizzle butter over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles crumbly wet sand, about five 1-second pulses, pausing halfway through to scrape down sides and bottom of workbowl. Set aside while preparing fruit.
2. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and pinch of salt together in large bowl. Peel pears, then halve and core each (see illustrations below). Cut each half into 4 wedges and then cut in half crosswise (pieces should be about 1 1/2 inches). Gently toss pears with sugar mixture and transfer to 8-inch-square baking dish.
3. Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit, breaking up any large chunks. Bake until fruit is bubbling around edges and topping is deep golden brown, 27 to 32 minutes. Cool on wire rack until warm, at least 15 minutes, and serve.
PHOTO CREDIT: CARL TREMBLAY