Asian pear crisp with almond topping

Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Asian pear crisp with almond topping
(Los Angeles Times)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter 6 (one-half cup) ramekins or baking cups. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with the Bourbon until they soften slightly, about 30 minutes. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until they are fragrant and have darkened slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes.


To prepare the topping, combine the almonds, flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and the salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2 or 3 times to chop the almonds coarsely; you don’t want them finely ground.


Cut the cold butter into cubes and scatter over the dry ingredients. Pulse until the butter is cut up into small clumps, about the size of peas. Do not over-process. Set aside.


Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller to scoop out the core and stem. Cut the pears in neat one-half-inch dice. You should have about 3 1/2 to 4 cups.


Place the diced pears in a large bowl and gently toss with the honey and lemon juice. Drain the raisins and add them to the bowl, reserving the Bourbon. Fold together gently to avoid breaking up the pears.


Spoon the pears into the prepared ramekins, filling all the way to the top (the filling will settle some during baking). Divide the topping and spoon evenly on top of the pears. Do not pat firm -- left a little loose it will make a crisper crust.


Bake until the top is evenly browned, about 1 hour. Cool slightly before serving.


While the baked crisps are cooling, whip the cream to form soft peaks. Beat in the remaining teaspoon of sugar and one-half teaspoon of the reserved Bourbon, discarding the rest.


Top each crisp with a small dollop of whipped cream and pass the rest of the cream at the table.

The slivered almonds should be as fresh as possible.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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