Pear Crisp with Vanilla Bean Cream

Apple crumble is a delicious traditional dessert this time of year.  I thought it would be a nice twist to try using pears instead and then try adding in some almonds into the traditional oats, butter, flour, sugar mixture for some extra crunch.  I’m all about texture and the pear is especially tender so I think the extra crunch is a great contrast.  What sets this dish apart from any regular old crumble is the layering of vanilla flavor.  I used a good amount in the pear mixture and then added a vanilla bean and pure vanilla extract to the whipped cream to really showcase the flavor.  But also, by using real vanilla beans where you scrape the seeds from the pods you get these beautiful little speckles of vanilla in the cream.  I hope you try this easy do ahead recipe for your next get together with friends.  

Pear Crumble

  1. Butter a square baking dish with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the pears, lemon juice and zest, vanilla, honey, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves in a large bowl.  Mix gently with a rubber spatula and place in the butter dish.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment add the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon, cloves, and salt on low until all ingredients are combined and you have a crumbly mixture.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until browned on the top and crunchy crust has formed.  Remove and let cool.

Vanilla Whipped Cream

1.      In a standing mixer the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand blender, beat the cream for 3-4 minutes until it thickens and starts to form soft peaks. 

2.      Add in the sugar, vanilla, vanilla bean, lemon zest and salt and beat on medium speed for another 30 seconds or so.  Taste for desired sweetness and vanilla flavor and adjust if needed.  Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.


  1. Re-warm the crisp if necessary.  Spoon the pear crisp into small serving dishes or parfait glasses. Top with the vanilla whip cream, a sprinkle of sliced almonds, and garnish with a raspberry or strawberry.
Baked Pear Mixture

4 large ripe but firm pears, peeled and cubed into ½ inch pieces

Zest and juice of ½ lemon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 teaspoons of honey

¼ teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

Crumble Topping

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup Old fashioned oats

½ cup Flour

2/3 cup Brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup sliced almonds

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

 ¼ teaspoon Salt

Vanilla Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

6 teaspoons fine sugar

1 ¼ teaspoons pure vanilla

1 vanilla bean (seeds scraped from the pod)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

¼ teaspoon salt

* Strawberries or raspberries for garnish

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