Jullie & Chelsea: Friendsgiving Dessert...The CrumbleCrisp

Chelsea: How is it that we just wrote a post about Halloween-inspired cocktails, and here we are, just a couple of days away from Thanksgiving?! Initially, we planned on doing something with all of the leftover Halloween candy we had, but inspired by the rapidly approaching Thanksgiving holiday, instead ended up making this Pear Crumble...Crisp?...Crumble Crisp.

Jullie Anne: Yes! It was Chelsea's idea to make a Fall fruit crumble, and as soon as she requested it, I was on board. This is actually a perfect low-key recipe to add to your holiday dessert rotation. If you don't feel like fussing around with a pie crust or cake batter, or cranking out a ton of cookies...this is for you! It's not too sweet, letting the fruit really shine, and it just screams holidays and comfort!

Jullie Anne: To start, you'll want to peel, core, and dice 5-6 ripe pears. We used a combination of bosc and red bartlett, but you can stick with just one variety if you prefer.

Next, a little bit of orange zest and a squeeze of orange juice will go a long way in adding flavor to this dessert! I love what citrus zest does to baked treats!

Flour will thicken the juice from the orange and pears, and this will give you that perfectly bubbly and yummy filling in the end!

Finally, brown sugar and vanilla bean! I love how these two ingredients create a caramel-like aroma and flavor! (Seriously, I just wanted to stick my face up close and sniff...)

Jullie Anne: Stir this mixture until the fruit is evenly coated, then spread into an even layer in an ungreased baking dish. (PS. I love your stoneware, Chels...)

Chelsea: #pamperedchefkitchen

Jullie Anne: Now, to make the crumble crisp-topping, you're going to need butter. Chelsea had these adorable petite sticks of butter, and I was obsessed! I think I'm going to have to buy these for all of my holiday cooking/baking this year...just because.

Chelsea: This is where I went wrong. Jullie Anne had a recipe that we were using as a guideline for the streusel topping, and according to the cookbook, we were supposed to use 3/4 of a cup of room temperature butter. I tossed the very cold butter into the microwave for 15 seconds, just to get it soft...and it was soft, just barely squishy...but when I combined everything, I ended up with a dough rather than a streusel. Don't ask me how. I followed all of the directions, but still ended up with dough. Luckily, it tasted really good.

Jullie Anne: Chels calls it "wrong," I call it an adventure. ;) We learned two things after all: A) It did taste good. Really good. It tasted like sugar cookie dough and could probably be awesome used in cookie dough truffles...and B) Softened, room temperature butter wasn't going to give us the crumbly consistency we were looking for.

Jullie Anne: However...as you can see...the final product didn't exactly suffer. We simply spread the dough in an even layer over the pears, watched it while it baked, then took it out when it was golden-brown.

Chelsea: I won't lie. I was really nervous about it baking because we were using the Crumble recipe, and it clearly wasn't a crumble. I kept running to the oven to check on it, but it was definitely alright in there unsupervised.

Jullie Anne: The pears were tender, and the topping was crisp, but in a melts-in-your-mouth-like-a-vanilla-wafer kind of way...We happily devoured platefuls while marathon-watching Sons of Anarchy...

Chelsea: This was seriously delicious. As I've gotten older, I've gravitated more toward a more...not savory, but definitely less sugar-packed dessert and this fit the bill perfectly. I mean...naked Charlie Hunnam and a sweet treat...does an afternoon get more delicious? In case you were wondering, the answer is definitely no.

Jullie Anne: Yesterday, though, I decided to experiment a tiny bit more with the recipe...This time, I started with cold butter.

Jullie Anne: I blended the butter into the sugar and flour, using a pastry cutter (a fork works just as well, though). Put some elbow grease into it, and make sure to mix that butter in thoroughly! :) It will still look a little "powdery"...

Jullie Anne: ...but then, work in the vanilla extract, and the mixture comes together a little bit more! You can pinch it between your fingers, and it'll stick together, but the topping should still be dry and crumbly.

Jullie Anne: When Chelsea and I made this together, we baked it in one big baking dish, which is perfect for feeding large crowds or serving buffet style, but I wanted to test out how this could work in individual sizes, as well! You can make this for smaller dinner parties!

I divided the filling into small ramekins, then used about a 1/4 cup of topping per ramekin. Don't be afraid to pile it all in there! The volume will go down as it bakes! Finally, put the ramekins on a baking sheet.

Jullie Anne: After 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees, I turned the oven temperature up to 400 and baked until the tops were a golden-brown, about 10-15 minutes more. (After increasing the temperature, rotate the baking sheet to help evenly brown the tops.) These are the same baking times and temperatures that Chelsea and I used the first time around!

Jullie Anne: Your kitchen will smell absolutely diviiine when you bake this. No need for holiday candles. Orange zest. Brown sugar. Vanilla bean. Sweet pear. Butter. This scent will really just float through your whole house...

Chelsea: And it will definitely counteract any negative vibes from a particularly violent episode of Sons.

Jullie Anne: You can serve this with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or as is! Chels even threw out the idea of a caramel sauce pairing, and I agree! Yummm....

Chelsea: Not that the original CrumbleCrisp wasn't delicious because it totally was, but I think that this one would definitely pair better with the caramel sauce. The rich caramel and the crumbly topping would be fantastic!

Jullie Anne: I was in love with this topping! It baked through, so it was like a soft cookie underneath, but the edges and tops were perfectly flaky and golden, with just the right amount of crunch for texture! If you want to use other fruits in season--apples, persimmons, etc.--go right ahead!

We hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving, with plenty of food, family, and football! 

Pear Crumble Crisp with Brown Sugar, Orange Zest, & Vanilla Bean (makes 6-8 servings)


6 Pears, peeled/cored/diced
2 tbsps All Purpose Flour
3-4 tbsps Brown Sugar (depending on sweetness of pears)
Seeds from 1 Vanilla Bean
1/2 tsp Freshly Grated Orange Zest
Juice of 1/2 an Orange

1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup White Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
3/4 cup (12 tbsps) Unsalted Butter, cold
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine diced pears, flour, sugar, vanilla bean, zest, and juice. Stir gently until fruit is evenly coated. Pour filling into an ungreased baking sheet or divide into small ungreased ramekins.
  3. To make filling, blend flour, sugars, salt, and butter in a medium-size mixing bowl, using a fork or pastry cutter. When mixture is crumbly, work in vanilla extract.
  4. Sprinkle filling in an even layer over pears. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until filling is bubbling and topping is golden.
  5. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees, and bake until topping is golden-brown, about 10-15 more minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or caramel sauce! Enjoy!