I love to eat crisps for breakfast :: colazione. They go great with a hot cup of dark roasted coffee. I also love them after dinner as a decadent dessert; they absolutely beckon for creamy vanilla ice cream or a swirl of caramel sauce.
This time I’ve spiked the caramel with some whiskey. I thought it quite fitting as I am going to be making this dessert at a Blues Festival next weekend. Have I ever mentioned that Italians love America and host all sorts of “American events”. In November I did a showcooking event at an American Wild West exhibition and in December, I cooked :: ho cucinato on a stage at an American themed Christmas trade show. It was funny to see men dressed up like cowboys, yet speaking in Italian.
There are many ways to make fruit crisps. The easiest way is to chop up the fruit, throw on the crisp and bake it in the oven :: forno in a large casserole dish. The fastest way is to cook everything on the stovetop like I did with my apple crisp. The most beautiful way (or at least I think so) is to serve the crisp directly in the fruit itself like these little pear boats. Aren’t they just darling?
- For the crisp:
- 2 ripe pears
- ¼ cup (45g) flour
- ¼ cup (30g) rolled oats
- ¼ cup (50g) dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon (1g) ground cinnamon
- ¼ (1g) teaspoon salt
- 4 walnuts, chopped
- 15 almonds or pecans, chopped
- 8 tsp (40g) unsalted butter, chopped
- For the salted caramel:
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (100g) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (42g) butter
- ¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream
- 1-2 pinches teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) whiskey
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a large baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, walnuts, almonds or pecans and butter.
- Rinse the pears well, cut them in half then remove the ends and stem. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon so that you have a small hollow cavity. Slice off a little piece of the outside of each pear and set them cut side up on the baking dish; by doing this, the pear won’t wobble or tip. Put a few spoonful of the crisp inside each of the hollowed centers. Pop the pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the pears are soft when poked with a fork.
- In the meantime, make the whiskey caramel sauce. In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over medium heat without stirring. After a few minutes, the sugar will start to melt around the boarders. At this point, drag the sugar towards the center with a rubber spatula so the liquid doesn’t burn. Instead of stirring rotate the pan with your hands (that are obviously tucked nice and snug in a pair of oven mitts.)
- When the sugar has completely melted, has turned a caramel color and there are no sugar clumps, add the butter and stir rapidly for a few minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the heavy cream and stir vigorously. Be extremely careful in this step as the cream will try to boil up and out of the pan and it is very very hot. Add the pan back on the stove and cook for another minute, while constantly stirring.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove and add the salt and whiskey. (Adjusting also to your own tastes.)
- When the pear crisp is ready, add a scoop of gelato and/or a drizzle of whiskey caramel sauce.
- *Store the whiskey caramel sauce covered in a glass container in the fridge and heat before use. (Although I highly doubt any sauce will remain!)
- Inspired by: PBS