Pears! Such an underrated fruit that deserves more love, don’t you think? I only have a few pear recipes on the blog, but eagerly wanted to add another one before winter pear season ends.
Since I love my healthy apple crisp recipe so much, I decided to slightly modify it and make this juicy pear crisp infused with cinnamon and studded with heart-healthy walnuts.
Did I eat this delicious gluten free pear crisp for breakfast with a scoop of yogurt? ABSOLUTELY.
What makes this homemade pear crisp completely delicious?
Many traditional pear crisp recipes are filled with lots of excess butter and sugar. In this lightened up pear crisp I cut down on the butter and used just a tiny bit pure maple syrup in the filling. You don’t need much at all as the pears are typically sweet and juicy enough on their own.
Don’t worry, this pear crisp tastes just like the real deal, old fashioned kind you’re used to — with a few lightened up ingredients here and there.
For this recipe, I like to use bartlett pears or green anjou pears, which are in season during the winter months.
You can easily make this pear crisp gluten free and vegan as well by simply substituting vegan butter and using an alternative flour listed in the recipe. So easy. Feel free to use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar here if you’re also looking to use all natural sweeteners throughout.
Ingredients in this old fashioned pear crisp recipe
One of the best parts about this pear crisp recipe is that it’s made with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboards. For this recipe you’ll need:
- Flour (all purpose, whole wheat, gluten free all purpose and oat flour will all work)
- Brown sugar or coconut sugar
- Chopped walnuts or pecans
- Oats (gluten free if desired)
- Butter (or vegan butter)
- Ripe (but not too ripe) bartlett pears
- Maple syrup
- A bit of arrowroot or tapioca starch
Traditional fruit crisps mix quite a bit of sugar in the filling, but this easy pear crisp recipe just requires a bit of maple syrup to sweeten the filling. Feel free to use coconut sugar as well to make this refined-sugar free.
How to make gluten free pear crisp
Making this pear crisp recipe gluten free is easy, simply use an all purpose gluten free flour or oat flour instead of a regular, all purpose flour or wheat flour. So many options! You can also make your own oat flour at home by simply placing oats into a blender and blending or pulsing until they’re smooth and resemble a fine flour. This is a super cheap way to make and use oat flour for the recipe.
Make your own oat flour right at home
Good news, you can easily make your own oat flour right at home to use in this pear crisp recipe. Check out my tutorial with all of my best tips & tricks. So easy!
How to tell if a pear is ripe
Pears typically ripen from the inside out, so you can’t tell if they are ripe just by looking at the skin. To tell if a pear is ripe, very gently squeeze the pear near the stem. If you can apply pressure and if it’s very slightly soft, then you know your pear is ripe.
Tips for making this classic pear crisp
- Slice your pears somewhat thick. I recommend about 1/4 an inch so that they become nice and tender for each bite of the crisp. I also recommend using pears that aren’t too ripe so that they stay together when slicing and baking, and so there’s not an excess of moisture in the filling.
- Make sure your topping is well-combined. I’ve found that mixing the crumb topping with your hands is best way to ensure that all of the flour and oats are covered with the butter and sugar. This creates the delicious, golden brown crumble that adds a yummy sweetness.
- Feel free to make this ahead of time! Looking to save time and prep for serving guests? Simply prepare the recipe as directed, cover it with foil, place it in the fridge and bake as directed before you’re ready to serve.
How to make pear crisp on the grill
That’s right, skip the oven during the hot summer months and cook this pear crisp right on your grill!
- Preheat your grill. Turn on a burner on only one side of your grill to 375 degrees F or medium high heat.
- Prep your crisp. Follow the pear crisp recipe up until you’re ready to bake it. Once you’ve added all of the pear filling and the crumble topping to a cast iron skillet, cover the skillet with tinfoil.
- Grill your crisp. Place the skillet on the opposite side of the burner that’s lit. This is so that you are indirectly cooking the pear crisp and avoid burning it. Bake the crisp for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until the topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
- Remove & serve. Your grill mitts are especially useful here! Use them to remove the skillet from the grill, let the pear crisp cool and then serve warm.
Finally, don’t forget to top your pear crisp! I love adding a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, coconut ice cream (omg yum) and even yogurt for a creamy, more tangy topping. Did someone say a drizzle of dairy free coconut milk caramel? Yes please. Grab an amazing dairy free caramel recipe here and enjoy!
I hope you love this pear crisp recipe as much as we do! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment and a rating let me know how you liked it. I greatly appreciate it – xo!
Cinnamon Walnut Pear Crisp
Incredible cinnamon walnut pear crisp is made with simple ingredients and topped with a delicious oat walnut crumble. This easy, classic pear crisp recipe tastes just like an old fashioned pear crisp can easily be made vegan and gluten free for a wonderful dessert you'll make again and again!
- For the topping:
- 2/3 cup flour (or sub whole wheat flour, gluten free all purpose flour or gluten free oat flour)
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
- 1/3 cup oats (gluten free if desired)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup butter, melted (or sub vegan butter or coconut oil)
- For the crisp:
- 6 medium Barlett pears, cut into 1/4th inch slices
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot or tapioca starch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8x8 baking pan or 9 inch skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
To make the topping: Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts in a large bowl until well-combined. Pour in the melted butter and use your hands to combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. You may need to use your hands/fingers to form into nice crumbles. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the filling: place pears, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and arrowroot starch in a large bowl and toss to combine. Take 1/3 cup of the topping mixture and toss with the pear mixture. Place the pear mixture in a prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the remaining topping.
Bake the crisp on a baking sheet (just in case the filling bubbles over!) for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream or yogurt on top. Makes 9 servings.
TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: in the topping, use certified gluten free oats and almond flour or an all purpose gluten free flour or gluten free oat flour.
TO MAKE VEGAN: sub a buttery vegan stick for the butter or use coconut oil.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats