The falling leaves of autumn remind me that I’m growing older. When the leaves begin falling from the trees, I start dreaming of raking up a pile to jump in. I’ve always found the smell of fallen leaves comforting, even as I pull colorful leaf fragments out of my hair after I’ve had my fill. However, these little dreams are short lived as I quickly remember that I neither have a rake nor a yard of leaves to gather together. To make up for the disappointment, I like to trudge through the leaves on the sidewalk in my heels, crunching my way to and from the car with satisfaction.
5-6 large (about 3 pounds/1.4 kilograms) Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled and diced
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon or rum, optional
In a large bowl, place the peeled and diced pears. Set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and butter. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is uniform. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract). Pour mixture over diced pears and stir until the pears are evenly coated. Spread evenly into a cast iron pan or 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle on the granulated sugar and bourbon.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) butter, softened
1/3 cup (66 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) old fashioned oats
1/3 cup (40 grams) sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar. Mix in the flour, oats, almonds, spices, and salt. Break off the dough into small pieces and sprinkle crumble topping over the top of the pears.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the pears are fork tender and the crumble topping is browned. If the topping browns before the pears are finished cooking, cover the pan in aluminum foil to prevent further browning and continue cooking.
Serve warm or cold, with a side of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.