Pear and Apple Crisp with Honey Caramel
October 15, 2020
We’re definitely right in the middle of fall. The colorful trees, crunchy leaves, and brisk evenings are a daily occurrence, and I am loving it. Our farm stands are overflowing with squash and decorative gourds, and I’m getting ready to break out all the chunky knit blankets. And this pear and apple crisp is super cozy too, with the combination of fruit and the warm caramel drizzle. It’s basically the epitome of fall.
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When I first started baking with fruit, I was apprehensive about combining two different types in the same dish. I would stick to either apples or pears, but I was never quite sure how to mix them together. After some experimentation and practice, these days I’ll throw four or five fruits together without even blinking.
After making this crisp, you’ll be wondering why you aren’t always using two or more fruits in everything. The flavors play off each other and create depth, each allowing the other to shine more than either would alone. The tender and buttery pears match wonderfully with tart and crisp apples.
What You Need to Get Started
- Produce: Apples, Pears
- Pantry: Flour, Brown sugar, Oats, Honey, Sugar
- Spice Rack: Cinnamon, Salt
- Fridge: Butter, Heavy cream, Whipped cream
- From the Bar: Bourbon
- Equipment: Cast iron skillet, Silicone spatula, Mixing bowl, Whisk, Cooling rack
Let’s Make a Pear and Apple Crisp
This entire dish comes together pretty quickly. Because it’s made in a skillet, you can start cooking the fruit on the stove, and then transfer it to the oven just to thicken and brown the crisp topping. While the crisp is baking, make the super easy honey caramel sauce.
First, preheat your oven and place a rack in the middle. Grab your well-seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet, and set it aside. Start by washing your fruit, removing the cores and seeds, and cutting them into small chunks. You can make crisps with chunks or slices, but I like the texture of dicing in this recipe.
Toss the fruit pieces together with the rest of the filling ingredients. Flour helps to thicken the crisp, so it’s not runny. Brown sugar, cinnamon, and bourbon provide some extra flavor. And the butter will melt and help everything come together.
Add all of this to your cast iron skillet, and begin heating over medium. Stir, using a silicone spatula, until the butter has fully melted and the fruit is coated in a thick syrup. Then turn off the heat and prepare the crisp topping.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt. A crisp is defined by the presence of oats in the topping. When baked, these crisp up and add texture. Without them, you’d have a crumble instead, which is still delicious. Learn more about the different types of fruit bakes.
Once combined, add in the melted butter. You can stir with a spoon at the beginning, but then you’ll want to get your hands into the mix to really get it nice and crumbly. Toss the dry ingredients in with the butter, allowing it to coat everything.
When you are done, there should be no dry pockets of oats or flour. The entire mixture will have the texture of damp sand. If you pinch a small piece between your fingers, it will hold together briefly, and then crumble.
Use your fingertips to crumble it into small pieces, as you scatter the topping over the cooked fruit in your skillet. Try to distribute it fairly evenly, but don’t worry about it being perfect. It’s good for there to be a few places where the fruit can vent and bubble.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the fruit filling is bubbling throughout, not just at the edges. The topping should also have darkened slightly, and will appear dry. While this is baking, you can prepare the honey caramel.
How to Make Honey Caramel
In fall baked goods, I tend to use a lot of caramel. This is one of the easiest ones you will ever make. There’s no thermometer and no intricate timing. Plus, the honey adds its signature bite to the sweet flavor, which makes it rich and delicious.
In a small saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, and butter and begin heating over medium. Use a silicone spatula to stir it gently, turning the butter until it melts completely, and the sugar and honey have combined into a uniform mixture.
Then, set the spatula aside and let it heat up and begin bubbling. There’s no need to stir, just simply let it bubble on the stove for a few minutes. Then turn off the heat and add in the heavy cream. When you stir in the cream, the caramel will bubble and may seize violently, so add it carefully. Then mix until it’s smooth.
Add a pinch of salt, or more if you prefer a saltier caramel. Then transfer it to a glass bowl or jar to cool slightly.
Sweet, buttery pears and crisp, bold apples join forces in this fall breakfast or dessert: pear and apple crisp with honey caramel!
How to Serve Pear and Apple Crisp
Add a scoop of crisp to a small bowl, and drizzle with the honey caramel. Then top with a dollop of whipped cream. If you are looking for something a little more exciting for brunch, try it topped with a scoop of coffee ice cream.
This crisp is best served warm. It’s the most delicious right out of the oven, after cooling until it stops bubbling. However, you can also cover it tightly and store it at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can also store the caramel sauce covered in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just reheat both to serve.
You can eat this treat for breakfast, dessert, or any time in between. Serve it with a warm mug of apple cider or a chai white hot chocolate. For something with a little more kick, try a cinnamon and pear rum cocktail or a warm almond Irish coffee hot cocoa.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- There is so much you can do with apples! Try apple butter brioche cinnamon rolls or a classic apple tart with bourbon-rye crust.
- With the extra pears, try these sweet and savory pear tart bars with goat cheese crumble.
- If you have extra honey caramel, mix it into your morning coffee for a fun flavored latte.
- Oats add plenty of texture to a variety of dishes, but they are the star in a coconut peach oatmeal bake.
- We use a lot of bourbon around here. Try it in an amaretto old fashioned or chocolate turtle martini.
- If you prefer to use only apples or pears, that will work in this crisp. However, I suggest using a couple different varieties so you still get the difference in flavors and texture.
- No bourbon? No problem. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tsp water instead.
- I used quick oats, but instant or old fashioned will do, just don’t use steel cut.
Pear and Apple Crisp with Honey Caramel
Apple & Pear Filling
- 3-4 Apples cored and diced into ¾-inch pieces; I used Cortland apples
- 3-4 Pears ripe but firm, seeded, and diced into ¾-inch pieces
- ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
- ½ Tbsp Cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 2 Tbsp Bourbon
- ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Quick Oats
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- ¼ Cup Honey
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- ¼ Cup Butter
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- pinch Salt
- Whipped Cream optional, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle.
- Toss together the apples and pears with all of the ingredients for the filling, and place in a cast iron pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the fruit is coated. Then cover, and let cook for another 5-6 minutes, until the apples are fork tender.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt until combined. Add in the melted butter and stir until the dry ingredients are coated and have the texture of crumbly sand. Using your hands, distribute the topping evenly over the fruit, crumbling large pieces.Crisp: Whisk dry, mix in butter, top filling; Bake 375 for 18-22 min until bubbling throughout and lightly browned crisp
- Bake for 18-22 minutes until the filling is bubbling throughout, and the crisp is lightly browned. Place the entire pan on a rack to cool slightly.
- While the crisp is baking, make the caramel. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted and everything is combined.
- Let the mixture bubble for 3-4 minutes, and then remove it from the heat, and add in the cream, carefully as it may seize and bubbe violently. Stir until the caramel is smooth, and then add salt as desired.
- Serve scoops of the crisp topped with drizzle of caramel and whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream. Store the crisp covered at room temperature for 2-3 days and reheat individual scoops to serve. Store the caramel covered in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, and microwave in ten-second increments until you reach the desired consistency.