Crisps (and their close cousins, Crumbles) are one of my favorite ways to use up a basket of fruit and make something quick and comforting that everybody will love. As indulgent as crisps can seem, they are so simple and straightforward that not only do I love making them as a last-minute dessert, they are so low-sugar I can also rationalize eating them for breakfast the next day with a scoop of yogurt!
The perfect combination of fall fruit, sliced apples and pears accent this crisp dish with a rich oat topping to complement the tart fruit filling. Use the best tart baking apples you can find– a reliable variety found many places is Granny Smith. It's nice to find a good baking pear like a Bosc pear, but make sure you slice it very thin so it cooks through. Alternatively, a softer pear like the Seckel variety would work as well.
For the oat topping, if you can find organic rolled oats, these are the best to use. But if you are in a pinch and only have steel-cut or instant oats, those will work as well, but will just impart less of a toothsome bite to the crispy topping!
To make the oat crisp topping, cut your butter into 1/4-1/2″ cubes and chill well. Mix the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a fork or your hands, press the chilled butter into the dry ingredients until only very small pea-sized pieces remain visible (the rest is pressed into the dry ingredients). Spread onto a plate or tray in medium-sized clumps, and chill to set the butter before baking.
Preheat oven to 350F and arrange a baking rack on the bottom third of the oven. For the apple-pear filling, melt butter in a large skillet until foamy. Sprinkle sugars evenly over butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring only if necessary to prevent burning, until mixture bubbles all over and begins caramelizing, about 3 minutes. Whisk well and continue to cook until caramel becomes just a shade darker golden brown, then carefully add sliced apples.
Let the apples cook until the caramel melts again, then turn the apples to caramelize the others. Then turn the heat to medium-low and cook the apples stirring only now and then until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the caramelized apples to the raw pears and toss together to combine evenly. Drizzle over the top the lemon zest and juice, sprinkle over the flour and pinch of salt, and toss all to combine well. Let cool till not hot to the touch, and then proceed with the final bake.
Pour apple-pear filling into 8×8” buttered brownie pan, press in and spread evenly, and sprinkle chilled oat topping over, leaving some large clumps in the mixture.
Bake in the bottom third of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the oat topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling on the edges.
Serve warm with ice cream scooped on top just before, and your favorite warm beverage.
Oat Crisp Topping
- 2.25 cups All Purpose Flour
- 0.75 cups Light Brown Sugar
- 0.5 cups Rolled Oats
- 0.5 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 0.5 teaspoon Salt
- 0.5 pound Butter cubed and chilled
- 5 medium Green Apples peeled, cored and sliced 1/8” thick
- 5 large Ripe Pears peeled, cored and sliced 1/8” thick
- 2 ounces Butter
- 1 cup Sugar
- 0.25 cup Light Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
- 1 whole Lemon zested and juiced
- Pinch salt
Oat Crisp Topping
- Mix flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Press the chilled butter into the dry ingredients until only very small pea-sized pieces remain.
- Spread onto a plate in clumps and chill before baking.
Apple-Pear Filling and Baking Crisp
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Melt butter in a large skillet until foamy. Sprinkle sugars evenly over butter.
- Cook over medium heat without stirring until mixture bubbles all over, about 3 minutes.
- Whisk well and continue to cook until it becomes golden brown, then carefully add sliced apples.
- Turn heat to medium-low and cook the apples stirring now and then, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add to raw pears and toss together, add lemon zest and juice, flour, and pinch of salt.
- Pour into 8x8” buttered brownie pan, spread evenly, and sprinkle chilled oat topping over. Bake in bottom third of oven for 20-25 minutes, until topping is golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling on the edges. Serve warm with ice cream on the side.