Paleo Pear Crisp & (Non-Paleo) Caramel Apple Pie
This weekend I had a pie-baking date with my friend Carissa, who’d never made a pie before. I know, crazy right? So, I was happy to coach her through her first pastry dough experience, using my trusty Martha Stewart pâte brisée recipe. For the rest of the pie, Carissa used this recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Pie, from the Baker Chick, which turned out awesome (from what I saw, heard, and tiny-tasted!). We had a slight issue with the pie dough, because of a dish that was deeper than expected so the pie edges were too thin and started to crack and break off during baking. However, the rest of the pie turned out phenomenally, and I’m so proud of my student for a successful first pie!
Meanwhile, I’d decided to try my hand at another paleo-friendly dessert with a pear crisp that I based on a recipe from Well Fed.
Melissa’s version of the fruit crisp uses peaches and a delicious crumb topping of dates, almond flour, and sliced almonds. However, one thing I love about the book is that she makes suggestions for alternate ways to make her recipes, one of which was using pears. I was sold! I followed her crumb topping recipe exactly, although I tripled the amount because I made my crisp in a casserole dish instead of ramekins or an 8-inch square pan. For my filling, I wanted to add a touch of sweetness and also go for that gooey texture, so I made a couple modifications to her base recipe, which stays pretty clean and simple by using just fruit and some lemon. I’d recently bought some arrowroot powder to use as a gluten-free thickener so I was eager to give it a whirl here, and to my delight it worked really nicely! As for the flavor all I used was a bit of maple syrup, vanilla and some spices. The end result was perfect; the touch of maple complemented the pears nicely, the filling texture was perfectly gooey, and when I shared it with my friends on Saturday night, the whole thing disappeared in minutes.
Paleo Pear Crisp Filling
- 2-3 lbs pears, depending on dish size. Peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 TBSP arrowroot powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP pure maple syrup
- 1 cup almond flour
- 12 dried dates, pitted
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil, chilled until solid, then diced
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss the pear slices with remaining filling ingredients. Pour into baking dish.
Make the crumb topping: Place almond flour, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in food processor. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle the chilled cocunut oil chunks over the flour. Pulse about 10 times, then process on high for 5 – 10 seconds, until there are no lumps. Pour the topping into a bowl and use a fork to mix in the sliced almonds.
Cover pear filling evenly with the topping and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.