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Apple Pear Crisp

Apple pear crisp delivers big on coziness with warm tender fruit, gently spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and a buttery tender crisp topping. This version offers a gluten free and refined sugar free option (plus I’ll throw in a dairy free swap too) to make it just right for whatever way you eat.

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a bowl of apple pear crisp with ice cream on top and a drizzle of caramel being added

Key takeaways

  • Best made with a firm cooking apple like a Granny Smith.
  • Use a pear that’s firm and sweet like Bartlett or Red.
  • Can be made in advance and the components kept separate until baking.
  • Easy to double, triple or 10x if needed!
  • Use gluten free flour and oats if needed and make it dairy free with coconut oil or dairy free butter.
  • Top with caramel sauce, ice cream or whipped cream.

Crisp vs. Crumble: What’s the difference?

A crumble doesn’t have oats in the topping. It’s just flour, butter, and sugar typically. Nuts might be found in a crumble too, but the oats are the defining factor.

What apples are best in an apple crisp?

You want a firm cooking apple that will still hold its shape when tender. I love a Granny Smith for this. They’re the green ones–and they are usually available all year round.

I don’t recommend a McIntosh here. I love their flavor but they turn to applesauce so easily. Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady would also work in this apple pear crisp though they are much sweeter than a Granny. Check out these apple charts if you need more help.

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    I don’t know the first thing about choosing pears. Which one is best?

    Pears are in season during the fall and winter. Keep that in mind when making this recipe because getting pears in summer is going to result in very little flavor and a pithy texture.

    This recipe calls for Bartlett pears. They are smooth skinned and green. You may also find red pears which are wonderful, and Bosc which have a brown sandpapery skin.

    Get the Bartlett or Red if you can, and choose a Bosc if nothing else is left.

    Make sure your pears are ripe. Give them a gentle press with your thumb. Ripe peaers should give only slightly and they should be heavy for their size. This is a good indication that they are juicy.

    Other fruit ideas to add to an apple pear crisp

    Fall fruits are going to be best here. Try these ideas for additional variations:

    • Cranberries: Fresh cranberries add a pop of tartness. 1/2 cup would be great in this recipe. If you use them, increase the sugar a bit to compensate. Maybe add 1-2 tablespoons more.
    • Orange zest: You wouldn’t want the whole orange in your recipe, but a bit of zest or juice as a swap for the lemon would be a nice change.
    • Raisins: A classic raisin can add chewiness and a bit of tartness to your dish. 1/2 cup would be fine to try out.

    Can this recipe be doubled?

    Yes. The great thing about recipes like this is that you can double, triple or 10x it and it will still work perfectly.

    Can I make this apple pear crisp in advance?

    You can make the apple mixture up to a day in advance. Your apples will leak some moisture and they may turn brown but it won’t hurt anything. Pour it all in the baking dish.


    The crisp topping can be made and refrigerated for up to three days before you need it. Keep the topping and fruit separate until you are ready to bake then spread the crisp topping on.

    If you are baking it with fruit and topping that have been refrigerated, give the apple pear crisp a few extra minutes to bake.

    How to assemble apple pear crisp

    Peel, core and dice the apples and pears into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss them with the sugar, lemon juice, spices and salt and set aside.

    a bowl of diced apples and pears tossed with cinnamon and spices

    Mix the crisp topping ingredients and then mash in the softened butter until a coarse texture with some clumps form.

    a bowl of crisp topping ingredients with a pastry blender in the bowl

    Transfer the fruit mixture to an 8-inch baking dish or a 9 inch cast iron skillet if you have one and top with the crisp mixture. You can pile the fruit up a bit because it will sink some as it bakes.

    Bake the crisp on a cookie sheet or place a large piece of foil in the oven below the dish to catch any drips.

    a skillet of unbaked apple pear crisp with the crisp topping spread on the fruit

    To make this recipe gluten free

    Everything I eat has to be gluten free so I always try to offer that option to you as well. Use a gluten free 1:1 baking mix like King Arthur’s . Certified gluten free oats will also be needed. Those are pretty easy to find in most grocery stores these days. Just check the label.

    To make a dairy free version

    Use coconut oil instead of the butter. Regular coconut oil will leave a coconut flavor. If you don’t want that, use refined coconut oil instead. You can also swap in a dairy free butter of your choice.

    a skillet of apple pear crisp baked with ice cream scoops on top

    What to serve with apple pear crisp

    You can round out your cozy apple pear crisp with a few things to really send it over the top. Try these ideas:

    Homemade caramel sauce. Rich and creamy, a homemade caramel would be delicious. If you want to buy it, go for it but this version would be great to try.

    Vanilla ice cream. Buy your favorite brand or make some homemade. I have been making homemade custard for years from Alton Brown’s recipe. I’d throw elbows for a bowl of it.

    Homemade whipped cream. I hate Cool Whip. It’s a lie. Instead of whipped oil, make your own or just pour a little cream right on the crisp and go with it.

    Want more baked apple recipes?

    I have you covered. Any of these recipes are perfect as well.

    a bowl of apple pear crisp with ice cream on top and a drizzle of caramel being added

    Apple Pear Crisp

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
    Servings 6 servings
    Author Rachel Ballard

    Ingredients
      

    For the apples

    • 4 Granny Smith apples medium to large
    • 4 Bartlett pears See Note 1
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons sugar See Note 2
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon See Note 3
    • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg See Note 3
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt

    For the crumble

    • 1 cup all purpose flour See Note 4 for gluten free
    • 1 cup rolled oats See Note 4 for gluten free
    • 1/3 cup pecans chopped
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup butter one stick softened and unsalted See Note 5

    Instructions
     

    Make the fruit mixture

    • Preheat the oven to 350° and position a rack in the center.
    • Peel, core, and slice the apples and pears into ½ inch pieces.
    • Combine the sliced apples, pears, lemon juice, sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine.
    • Pour the fruit and all the juices into an 8-inch baking dish, or a 9-inch cast iron skillet.

    Make the topping

    • In a large bowl (the same bowl used for the fruit is fine), add the flour, rolled oats, pecans, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.
    • Add the softened butter and mash it all together using a fork or your hands until even crumbs form.
    • Scatter the topping over the fruit in an even layer spreading it within 1/4" of the edges of the dish.  
    • Bake the crisp until the topping is golden brown and the edges are bubbling; 45 to 50 minutes.
    • Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

    Notes

    Note 1: Bartlett pears have a light green, smooth flesh. If you can’t find those where you are, any ripe pear will work. I love red! 
    Note 2: Any sweetener of your choice is great here. Honey, maple syrup, granulated, or organic cane sugar are all fine. Adjust as needed based on the tartness of your fruit. 
    Note 3: Cinnamon and nutmeg can be swapped with apple pie spice if you have it on hand. Start with 1/2 teaspoon. 
    Note 4: For gluten free, use a 1:1 baking blend. I like King Arthur’s 1:1 Baking Blend in the blue and white bag. Also choose a gluten free oat. 
    Note 5: Swap coconut oil or dairy free butter for a dairy free option. 

    Nutrition

    Serving: 0.75cupCalories: 502kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 5gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 371mgPotassium: 369mgFiber: 9gSugar: 40gVitamin A: 576IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 2mg
    Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
    Course Dessert
    Cuisine American
    Keyword apple crisp, apple crisp recipe, gluten free apple crisp, homemade apple crisp, skillet apple crisp

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    About the Author

    Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.