Spiced pear and chocolate crisp – lots of juicy fruit, tossed with warming ginger and spices. Chunks of melty dark chocolate in every spoonful. Covered with a thick layer of cinnamon spiked, maple sweetened oats, it’s then baked to crunchy, golden-toasted perfection.
It’s autumn at it’s best!
Yep, you’ve guessed it – I’m in full-on autumn mode now. We’re talking soups and stews. Puddings and pies. Casseroles (aren’t they just another kind of stew anyway?) and the kind of hearty, warm-you-to-your-toes dishes that benefit from long, slow, gentle cooking.
In case my enthusiasm doesn’t translate particularly well on screen?
This is my kind of food.
I guess you could say that roasting and baking are my love language…
A bonus to all this cooler weather cooking?
Your home will be filled with the delicious aroma of dinner (or in this case) dessert, gently baking away as you relax on the sofa, a crackling log fire in the grate, warming your toes as you turn the pages of your favourite book.
Yeah, so I barely have time to sit on our sofa some days. Our flat doesn’t have a crackling log fire (although we do have a fireplace shaped hole in the wall ← don’t ask…) And my book is an ancient kindle (um, it’s got an actual keyboard at the bottom – that should give you an idea of how technologically advanced I am…)
But I can dream.
With driving rain and strong wind forecast for much of this week, I knew it was time for one of my favourite autumn desserts. I’ve called this ‘fruit topped with oats’ recipe a crisp, as it seems to be the more recognised terminology in the world of food blogging.
Although, now I think about it…should this post be talking about autumn?
Anyway … in my childhood it would have been called a fruit crumble and would be served after a roast dinner, accompanied by lashings of custard – only cold custard mind, never hot.
I know. I’m weird. I think we’ve established that already … just roll with it.
I wanted to boost the flavour of the fruit in this crisp, as the pears I had were, quite frankly, bland. A combination of ground ginger and mixed spice works well, and continues my love affair with warming autumnal flavours. The chunks of dark chocolate mixed throughout, which melt as the crisp bakes, are a welcome surprise when you dig your spoon in.
As you can see from the pictures, this isn’t a particularly ‘saucy’ crisp. I didn’t want to end up with a dish of pears in chocolate sauce, so I decided to forgo adding any extra liquid. The ice-cream, cream or custard you add on top takes care of that!
For the topping, I decided to go for heavier on the oats, lighter on the (wholemeal) flour. Oats are one of my absolute favourite ingredients, see the evidence here, here and here! I love their slightly nutty, chewy texture (and added health benefits!)
I also wanted to step away from the traditional combination of butter and sugar for the topping – instead, I experimented with the huge jar of coconut oil I’ve been steadily working my way through. A (small) drizzle of maple syrup, combined with the coconut oil makes for a lovely, rich oat topping that crisps up beautifully in the oven.
A few minutes preparation time. A chance to sit and relax as it bakes. A few minutes for the coffee to brew, and the ice cream to soften from the freezer. Then you too could be enjoying a warming bowlful of this spiced pear and chocolate crisp – naturally sweetened and full of fruit and delicious whole-grains.
Let the rain commence. I’m ready for it.
- 6 pears, peeled, cored and diced
- Lemon juice (if required)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- ¼ cup (40g) dark chocolate chips / chunks
- 2 cups (205g) rolled oats
- ¼ cup (25g) wholemeal flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup (60ml) maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (80ml) coconut oil (in its liquid state)
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (350F degrees). In a 8" x 8" oven proof dish, toss the diced pears with a little lemon juice (if not baking immediately - this will stop them browning). Sprinkle over the ground ginger and mixed spice, and toss together, then stir in the chocolate chips.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour and ground cinnamon. Drizzle over the maple syrup, then the liquid coconut oil, and stir well until everything is combined.
- Scatter the oat mixture evenly over the pears, then place the dish on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the fruit is cooked through and the topping is lightly browned (mine took 38 minutes).
- Remove from the oven, and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving with cream, custard or a scoop of ice-cream.