Super Crunchy Pear Crisp

Super crunchy? Huh? Well, the crumble top is crispier than most, but the crunchy refers to the health factor. This is the pear (or berry, or apple, or peach) crisp that I turn to most frequently as an everyday sweet. It’s healthy enough to eat for breakfast guilt-free. Gluten free. Whole grain full. Only whole food fats. Basically all things I want in a dessert or mid-morning snack. Oh; and everyone in the house appreciates it too: bonus!

Incidentally, the recipe (and its many variations in between the parentheses) is an adaptation from the ‘Pear Crisp’ in Aveline Kushi’s Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking which has many other nice and super-clean desserts. It also has super-clean pretty much everyt other food too. Consider it a good reference guide for every health-conscious eater out there.

Yield: 4 servings (an 8”x8” baking dish)

What you need:

  • 3 large pears, diced (or peaches, or Granny Smith apples, or 4 cups of fresh or frozen berries)
  • 1 tablespoon raisins (optional; pomegranate arils are also nice – or currants, or dried cherries)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water (for peaches or pears; use about 1/3 cup water + 2 tablespoons for apples; 1-2 tablespoons of water for fresh berries and no water at all if using frozen berries)
  • 1 generous teaspoon of arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds (or walnuts, or nuts and seeds of your choice, or unsweetened finely shredded coconut)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (I usually use tahini, but some people object to the bitter note it lends so if you want to make sure to please the crowd, then almond butter is a sure bet; you could also use coconut oil if you prefer)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and have an 8”x8” baking dish at ready.
  2. Dilute the arrowroot starch in the water. Do this in your baking dish or a bowl. Add the raisins if using. Add the chopped fruit and stir to combine. (If using frozen berries, then just toss the starch with berries to coat, since you won’t be using additional water).
  3. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, mix together the toasted almonds, rolled oats, maple syrup and almond butter until a uniform sticky crumble mixture comes together. A fork is good for this.
  4. Layer the fruit in the bottom of the baking dish if it isn’t there already. Spreak the crumble mixture over the top in a roughly even layer.
  5. Cover with parchment paper and then foil – or a baking cover if you have one. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes or so (small berries take only 15 minutes or so, apples can take up to 25 minutes if the pieces are big). Remove the cover and then bake another 7 minutes or so, until the top is golden and fragrant.
  6. Cool 10 minutes or so and serve as is or drizzled with some cashew cream or a bit of oat milk.

Variations:

While this crisp often gets made as is at our place, for variety we do experiment with spices in either the crumble topping or fruit; or both:

  • Freshly grated ginger is nice with peaches or pears
  • A pinch of saffron and cardamom is awesome with pear or apple
  • A tiny bit of star anise with apples and use pomegranate arils instead of the raisins
  • A tiny pinch of anise seeds with blueberries and some chopped dried apricots instead of the raisins
  • Lemon or lime zest in the crumble topping is really nice, particularly for berry crisp
  • Do I even need to mention cinnamon and nutmeg with apple?

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