The combination of sweet and mellow pumpkin with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger isn't new (pumpkin pie, anyone?). In recent years, though, interest in the pairing seems to have reached a fever pitch, appearing in everything from ubiquitous lattes to cereal to English muffins. While riffs on the winning duo abound, here's one you may not have tried: pear and spice. It's a more subtle taste; pears are delicate and sweet, so the spice's zip is less pronounced. In this new recipe from Adrianna Adarme, whose blog A Cozy Kitchen has given way to a book, The Year of Cozy, the star spice is ginger, grated into the dessert from a fresh ginger root, so it's much brighter than most dry, powdered versions.
On top of this marvelous mixture of pear and ginger comes a crumble that includes flour, sugar, oat flakes, chopped walnuts and burnt -- yes, burnt -- butter. Taking ingredients a shade past browned has become quite popular lately; it adds a touch of bitterness that's an unexpected yet fantastic complement to sugary flavors. Here, the burnt butter stands up nicely to the ginger's zest. And although this crumble is fantastic on its own, it's even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a rich counterpoint.
Burnt Butter-Pear-Ginger Crumble Recipe
Recipe created by Adrianna Adarme
Serves 4 to 6
The best pears for baking are Boscs, Bartletts, green or red Anjous and Forelles. All hold up nicely in the oven.
For the filling:
- 3 to 4 baking pears, peeled, cored and finely chopped (see note)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/2-inch knob peeled, fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
For the crumble topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup oat flakes
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350°. No need to dirty a bowl: In an 8- x 8-inch baking dish, combine the pears, sugars, flour, ginger, vanilla and salt. Toss until the pears are thoroughly coated. Set aside.
To make the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, oat flakes and walnuts.
In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the cubed butter. Brown the butter until it goes from yellow and bubbling to a very, very dark brown color. It might appear burnt (and it is), but not to worry, it'll taste delicious.
Pour the burnt butter into the medium bowl that's holding the flour and oat mixture. Using a spoon, stir the mixture until it's clumpy and everything is coated in butter.
Pour the crumble atop the filling and spread it out evenly. Transfer to the oven to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crumble is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
From The Year of Cozy (Rodale) by Adrianna Adarme.
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