Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vanilla Scented Pear Crisp with Crispy Coconut Oat and Almond Topping

 Last weekend I bit into one of the most heavenly pears I have ever eaten in my life...it was succulent, sweet and buttery...with almost a vanilla like flavor!  I am sure I looked as if I was in some other world while I was enjoying the deliciousness, but it was sooo good!  It happened to be a Frog Hollow Warren pear that I had picked up at the store, thinking it would be interesting to try.  It was not the prettiest pear by any means, the skin kind of a light tan, not smooth or green like a Bartlett.  But you can't judge a book by its cover, or a pear by its skin for that matter...I have learned that some of the ugliest looking ones taste the best!  Since the pear was so good, I was inspired to create a dessert with it. 
A crisp was what it would be since I did not have a lot of time and wanted something that didn't require too much attention.  Since the pears had vanilla undertones, I decided to play them up with vanilla and coconut flavors in my crisp!  I ground vanilla beans, and added them as well as a splash of vanilla extract.  The topping had toasted coconut as well as coconut oil, in place of the butter...which was an experiment of sorts, because I have always used butter in my topping, but the coconut milk ended up being better than the butter because of its sweet flavor!  I also added some sliced almonds in the topping because I felt they would compliment the delicately flavored crisp well. 
The crisp was pure bliss to enjoy...all warm and sweet with the vanilla and coconut undertones with the succulent pears and crispy coconut almond topping...a scoop of coconut ice cream to melt slowly on the side of it...Mmmm!  There I was sitting enjoying it in another world again!  This was definately comfort food at its finest...the type of thing that causes a feeling of happiness almost on the level of a big hug.  If you can get a hold of some of these pears you should make this, or even some D'anjou would serve as a suitable substitute.  But be warned, get ready to travel to your happy place! 

Vanilla Scented Pear Crisp with Crispy Coconut Oat and Almond Topping
Serves 4

6 large sweet pears, such as Warren, or D'anjou cut into small chunks
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp maple sugar
3 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp vanilla bean powder*
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

6 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
3 Tbsp maple sugar
4 Tbsp coconut oil
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup large flake coconut

9 inch glass pie plate

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack at the center position. Place a baking sheet lined with foil on the rack. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together the pears, lemon juice, agave nectar, 2 Tbsp maple sugar, 3 Tbsp flour, vanilla powder, vanilla extract. Spoon into prepared pie plate, and cover with foil. Place plate on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until fruit is cooked through and bubbling. Meanwhile, to make the topping, combine the flour, sugar, coconut oil and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, or 2 knives, cut butter into the flour until it is in pea sized chunks and clumping together. Add oats, coconut, and almonds. With hands, squeeze the mixture together forming larger chunks as well as incorporating the oats coconut and almonds until it is evenly distributed as you go. Place in the fridge until the crisps are ready to top. When the fruit has baked for 35 minutes, and is bubbling, remove from the oven and top with the crisp mixture. Place back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown and toasted (keep a close eye on it as coconut burns very quickly). Remove from oven and let cool until warm...enjoy!

* grind vanilla bean pods in a coffee or spice grinder for powder...it is a wonderful use for beans that have had the seeds removed for another use, or have been sitting in vanilla sugar.


  1. yes - I will be saving this recipe and making it this weekend! Thank you Thank you Thank you! I love pears!

  2. BTW - love this so much, I'm your newest follower!

  3. Thanks :)! You will love this if you enjoy pears, I think it could even convert a non pear lover ;)!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on the roasted banana bread...good to see you! I shared your blog with my vegan sister-in-law yesterday. She was happy to see some recipes for vegan desserts!

  5. Love pears! I am also posting a recipe with pears today too. I wish pears were not so darn expensive though! Nice yummy recipe.

  6. Hi Amy; Very nice stuff I will certainly add this recipe to my archive and use it sometime. Thank you.

  7. Looks lovely. I haven't seen a pear crisp in forever. ;)

  8. I love pear crisp! I like that you replaced butter/margarine with coconut oil... Buzzed + saved - thanks!

  9. mmm, this looks perfect for a chilly fall day! Really comforting too.

  10. The way you described that pear made me want to go out and find one, right away! Thank you for sharing this delicious crisp recipe. I especially love the addition of the coconut. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for your warm words today on my blog. They mean a lot to me (and to my family)