Crisp is one of my favorite desserts. Something about tender fruit topped with a sweet, firm, crumbly topping gets me every time. Usually I go with apples or berries, since Tony isn’t a pear fan. But organic pears and walnuts were on sale for insanely good prices, so I decided to go for it with this maple-walnut pear crisp. Fortunately, Tony emphatically approved. He said, “I usually don’t like pears, but this is really good!” Needless to say, the entire crisp was devoured far too fast.
Recipe Tips: Maple-Walnut Pear Crisp
Not All Flour is the Same – Many different flours can be used in this recipe with satisfactory results. But do not be tempted to just swap in coconut flour, almond flour, or garbanzo bean flour. These are not the types of flours that can easily be swapped in a dessert recipe in a 1:1 ratio. If going gluten free, it’s best to use a gluten-free baking blend (I used Jovial, which is heartier than most) or just stick with a simple option like certified gluten-free oat flour.
Getting the Topping Just Right – I purposely make this a moister topping to create bigger crumbles. But some flours might produce a topping that’s a little too wet. If so, don’t hesitate to add just a little more flour (usually 1 to 2 tablespoons) to give it that chunky consistency.
Choose the Fruit Wisely – I’ve read many crisp recipe reviews with complaints of a mushy filling. This is NOT the fault of the recipe. Choose your fruit wisely, because not all varieties perform alike in baking. Some are firm, and hold their shape when baked, others turn to mush. For this pear crisp recipe, I recommend D’Anjou (or just Anjou) Pears. They are firm, smooth, easy to peel if desired, and readily available.
Special Diet Notes: Maple-Walnut Pear Crisp
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and optionally refined sugar-free.
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or gluten-free flour blend (see Recipe Tips in post above)
- ½ cup coconut sugar or packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon + ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (can sub sustainable palm shortening), solid or softened
- 5 cups pears, optionally peeled and cut into small ½-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon non-GMO cornstarch (can sub arrowroot or tapioca starch)
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Place the walnuts in your spice / coffee grinder, and pulse them 4 or 5 times to coarsely grind with some chunks remaining. I do this in two batches.
- Place the walnuts, flour, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk with a fork to combine.
- Add the coconut oil and 3 tablespoons maple syrup and stir with a fork to create a coarse meal. It will be a wetter, chunky crumb. Just make sure you mash in any large chunks of coconut oil. If it is too wet, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour.
- Put the pears in a large bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice. Add the starch, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and stir until combined and no dry starch is visible.
- Transfer the pears to an 8x8-inch baking dish and shake to help the pears settle in and level out.
- Evenly top the pears with the walnut topping.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the topping just begins to brown.
- Let the crisp cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.