Caramel Pear Crisp

If you would have told me three days ago that a pear crisp, a divine caramel pear crisp, would render me speechless and make me question the most important parts of my life (like, why do I hide in the pantry eating dark chocolate chips when I could be eating spoonfuls of juicy, sweet pears encased in caramel and buttery, crisp topping?), I would have simply laughed (loudly because generally I kind of cackle instead of primly laughing) and said you clearly must be thinking of someone else with very different taste buds.

But that has actually happened, and while I’m not sure I know who I am anymore, I’m totally ok with that as long as pear crisp stays in my life forever and ever. This easily (easily!) fills a slot in my top 5 favorite desserts of all time. And if you think I’m being dramatic, my only response to you is: go ahead, make it and you’ll see what I mean. I didn’t expect to love, adore and worship it to quite this extent, trust me.

Caramel Pear Crisp

Perhaps it’s because while I enjoy an apple crisp here and there, I’ve never completely died over one, if you know what I mean. And I died. Over this pear crisp.

I really should just stop talking especially since I declared in the opening paragraph that I was rendered speechless (I was, but in true Mel form it only lasted for about 4 seconds). Your life will not be the same until you make this. It has the perfect ratio of sweet, caramel-covered fruit to crumbly, buttery streusel. Plus, I created an easy, dreamy caramel sauce (that I’ll be posting about separately soon) that doesn’t require finicky methods but is right up there with my favorite caramel sauce of all time. So basically, there are no excuses.

If I could request any kind of superpower it would be the one where I could make and deliver a warm dish of this to each of your kitchen countertops in the blink of an eye. Kind of like a pear crisp Santa. Except that’s weird and kind of creepy (assuming I could just appear in your kitchen like that). So just make it, ok? I’m giddy with anticipation to hear what you think.

Caramel Pear Crisp

One Year Ago: Overnight Steel Cut Oats {Favorite Way to Eat Oatmeal}
Two Years Ago: Hearty Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Three Years Ago: White Bean and Sausage Ragout {with Tomatoes, Kale and Zucchini}

Divine Caramel Pear Crisp

Yield: Serves 8

Divine Caramel Pear Crisp

Don't dice the pears too small or they'll turn to mush in the oven. I loved the larger chunks of pears - they'll soften just right while baking. Also, the crisp can be made and baked up to a day in advance and warmed in the oven on low heat (about 200 degrees F) for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Ingredients

    Easy Caramel Sauce:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Pear Filling:
  • 4 pounds (about 8 medium) ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced (see note above)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces
  • For Serving:
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Caramel Sauce

Directions

  1. For the caramel sauce, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, salt and cream. Melt over low heat. Once all ingredients are melted and combined, increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. There's no need to stir but watch the heat - if it seems as though the mixture might be burning on the bottom (which can often happen if you are using a pan that isn't heavy-bottomed), reduce the heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly (the caramel sauce can be made up to a week in advance - if using it in the recipe, warm slightly before adding to the pears).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8 1/2-inch by 12-inch pan with cooking spray (I know that's a random size that I happen to have - if you don't have that size, use something close like a 9X13-inch pan).
  3. Toss the pears in a large bowl with the lemon juice, flour and cinnamon. Pour 1 cup of the caramel sauce over the pears and stir to combine well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  4. For the topping, in a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Toss the pieces of butter in with the ingredients and use a pastry blender, two knives, your fingers, or anything else to cut the butter in until the mixture is crumbly. Spread the topping evenly over the pears.
  5. Bake the crisp until the edges are bubbling and the top has deepened in color, 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes. The crisp can be served warm or at room temperature.
  6. Serve with vanilla ice cream and remaining caramel sauce.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/caramel-pear-crisp/

Recipe Source: caramel sauce from me, pear filling and topping adapted from Cuisine at Home “Celebrate the Seasons”

54 Responses to Caramel Pear Crisp

  1. Linda Pilkington says:

    This looks amazing!!! I have made pear crisps before and they have turned out pretty good. I will have to make this for Conference Weekend.

  2. I don’t bake enough with pears! Definitely need to try this!

  3. Meri says:

    Love anything with caramel! Can you use canned pears?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Miss Meri – I think canned pears will be too soft for this recipe. Fresh pears will soften while baking but still keep a bit of their shape which is what you want.

  4. Heather says:

    I have actually never heard of pear crisp before. I will have to try this, it looks like something my family would love!

  5. I wish you had that superpower, too!!! This looks AH-MAZING!

  6. This looks amazing! And just in time, I’m about to buy like 20 pears. Is caramel sauce really that easy? Put in put, heat, boil, take off heat, add vanilla?

  7. Char Riippi says:

    OMG! I want this NOW! I was going to make an apple crisp tomorrow but now I think I’m buying some pears and making this instead.

  8. Cyndi B says:

    It would definately not be weird or creepy if you appeared in my kitchen. It would be fantastic! This looks amazing, must run to the store to buy pears now.

  9. Kim in MD says:

    Wow…I am speechless! But, just like you, that only lasts for about 4 seconds! 😉 One of my favorite Fall desserts is apple pear crisp. I have never had a fruit crisp with caramel, so I will be very excited to try this recipe!

  10. Beverly says:

    With a write-up like that, how can one not make this? Will do just that, this weekend.
    (Boy, am I hungry, now)

  11. Hilary says:

    Amazing!! I am trying this one tonight!!! Thanks again for yet another great one!!!

  12. Heather bell says:

    I’m not a pear fan but definitely going to make this with apples. With a good caramel sauce like that, what can go wrong?! 🙂

  13. Alison says:

    anyone know which of the GF flours would be a good sub here?

  14. Charlotte Moore says:

    I LOVE peach crisp and apple crisp. Never heard of pear crisp though. I am not as fond of pears as the other fruits. This does look tasty with the caramel. Need the recipe to make it like yours. Ha!!!

  15. Heaven in a mouthful?! I think yes!

  16. Emily M. says:

    Which varieties of pears would you recommend here, Mel? It looks amazing.

    • Mel says:

      Good question, Emily – I’m partial to Bartlett pears. I think they are less mealy in texture and much juicier than Anjou but you probably could use either (even a red pear perhaps?) and be fine.

  17. Marla Lagoski says:

    Oh my goodness, this sounds so divine. I love pears and pairing it with Carmel sauce and crumble topping is just making my mouth water. Thank you for sharing – I really wish you could pop into my kitchen with it!! :o)

  18. Ramona says:

    I love pear desserts and this one looks fantastic!

  19. kate C. says:

    Just got pears from my grandpa’s pear tree… will have to make this in a few days when they are fully ripe and ready to use!

  20. Courtney says:

    Do you use ripe pears or can they be hard?

    • Mel says:

      Fairly ripe and soft are best, I think. You can ripen pears quicker by placing them in a paper bag with an apple, banana or avocado overnight or for a day or two (depending on how hard they are).

  21. Amy says:

    Looking forward to your caramel info. I made this last night and I can’t figure out what I did to the sauce to make it hard and gritty. The heat didn’t seem too high and it doesn’t taste burnt. Maybe I stirred it too much? However, the pear crisp was still delicious!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Amy – sometimes caramel can be a little finicky (even easy recipes like this) if it is over-stirred. What happens is that sometimes sugar crystals higher up on the pan can get reincorporated to the caramel mixture and the texture can be sugary instead of smooth. It’s important to moderate the heat while the caramel simmers for the 10 minutes so that stirring isn’t needed.

  22. Cammee says:

    Why have I never made a pear crisp? Why?! Anything that doesn’t have chocolate and has you raving needs to be made NOW!

  23. Andrea says:

    Mel, these were heavenly inspired right down to the very last bite. I had your “crunchy topped swiss chicken bake” with the “baked brown rice” AND these “caramel pear crisps” all in the oven at the same time this evening (with the “baked cheesy zucchini bites” following). I had everything timed down to the minute with a road map carefully laid out with every last detail/ingredient planned. Everything was supposed to go like clock work while my 11 month old was napping. It turned out that he slept for only 30 minutes out of the 2 hours he was supposed to be down and our dinner guests canceled!! Oy… BUT, the caramel gods were still shining down on my kitchen as EVERYTHING turned out so yummy and perfect. When it came time to dish my husband the dessert, I gave it to him and went back to the kitchen for mine, and paused to see what sounds I could hear. Waiting, waiting, waiting and suddenly in a low voice, “Oh whoa. Wow, this is good.” And that made it all worth it. Pear crisp Santa definitely made it to our house tonight. Thank you!

  24. Marlene says:

    I just happened to have 5 large pears in my kitchen last night and because I LOVE PEARS I made this!!! OH MY YUMMINESS!!!! I put whipped cream on top instead of ice cream and then the carmel sauce. This has to be one of the best things since chocolate!! Too bad it is near the end of the fruit season…..and pears. I will be searching for fresh pears now so that I can make it again!! Thanks so much Mel!!!!

  25. Caramel and pear is such a great combo! Yum!

  26. Melanie says:

    This truly was divine! Amazing! I wouldn’t call myself a fruit crisp kind of girl, but I love caramel and this was so, so decadently delicious. I made it for a party and everyone loved it. It’s going in my favorite recipes.

  27. Nicole Peck says:

    I made this tonight for Sunday dinner with my in-laws. They thought I was the best cook ever, seriously. LOL It definitely took some time to throw together, but it was so worth it. Perfect fall dessert with a pear tree in our yard!!

  28. Nicole Peck says:

    P.S. My pears were green right off the tree and softened up nicely when baked, not too mushy and not too crunchy either still. Everyone said that if I hadn’t told them they were pears, they would have thought they were apples!

    • Angela says:

      Thanks for the info. Ya never know if your fruit’s gonna be ripe at just the right time. It’s nice to know it doesn’t matter too much in this case.

  29. Lori says:

    Hi Mel,

    I’d love to try this recipe! Can I substitute quick cooking oats for rolled oats?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t made that sub but I’m pretty sure it will work fine (it will change the texture of the crisp part a little but you’ll still get the oatmeal flavor).

  30. Hilary says:

    This recipe ROCKS!!! A new favorite!!!!

  31. cara says:

    i’m a loooong-time follower, but have never commented, but…all i have to say to this is heck.yes. i made this tonight and i’m over the moon about it! you’ve been my hero many a time, but you’re extra my hero tonight!

  32. Christine says:

    Made this to use up some pears from costco that did not want to get soft. I skipped the caramel sauce (little too decadent for a random weekday for us) so I just added a little brown sugar. I also doubled the oats because I am breast feeding and I get a little crazy for oats. I had to bake it for a little longer but it turned out excellent even without the caramel! I also was able to throw it all together in maybe ten minutes which was awesome. I may have to use this topping ratio for some apples later but the pears where a great change!

  33. Wendi says:

    I made this exactly like you did and it was beyond heavenly! The Caramel sauce was so delicious! I am promoting this to thanksgiving dessert! Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  34. Sheila says:

    Oh, Mel, this was an outstanding dessert! I made it for Sunday after church late lunch with the super easy so delicious caramel sauce. To say my crew loved it would be an understatement. It was unanimously decided to forego Sunday supper in favor of another bowl of this pear crisp with ice cream/caramel sauce. Mom ditched the ice cream so I could have more of the crisp and extra caramel sauce. 🙂 So thankful for you in our life.

  35. Monica says:

    I make mine w/o cinnamon but use ginger in the pears:) just a little! And no cinnamon in the topping

  36. Kristen S says:

    Made this last night with your lasagna soup, divine breadsticks and gourmet green salad. It was a meal to be remembered. Thanks for all the recipes!!

  37. Laurie says:

    This was fabulous. My not-a-big-dessert-fan husband ate it three nights in a row. I cheated and used Trader Joe’s caramel sauce, but otherwise followed the recipe. Thanks for the yumminess!

  38. Anne says:

    I made this for dessert after dinner, and it was fantastic! Hubby loved it. I loved it. Thank you.

  39. Dana says:

    Has anyone every made this ahead and froze it? And defrost and bake? I have a boatload of ripe pears and I was hoping to make this today and freeze it to be baked on Thanksgiving….

  40. Melany says:

    This was absolutely the yummiest dessert ever!! Everyone loved it! Thank you for sharing it!! Thank you for making so many delicious things and sharing them with us 🙂

  41. Lindsey says:

    This is incredible!!!! We LOVED it! We made it last week, but it’s already on my list of things to make again…soon!

  42. Rachel says:

    This looks amazing. I was just given an enormous bag of pears and Im desperate to make sure they dont go to waste. If i make this ahead of time and freeze it will that work?

  43. Kathy says:

    Made this 2 days ago-it was fabulous!!! Especially loved the caramel sauce!
    Used fresh pears from the neighbor’s tree. Thanks for the recipe.

  44. Ros says:

    This was delicious! It is going to be a family tradition!

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