Pear & Dried Cherry Crisp with Walnut Streusel

Tested & Perfected Recipes

A comforting combination of sweet pears & tart dried cherries, plumped up in an orange-scented caramel syrup.

pears

Rustic desserts that pair soft, tart fruit with buttery-crisp toppings are one of my favorite things to bake: they’re easy to throw together, completely foolproof, and always warm and comforting. Recipes abound but this one, modestly adapted from Bon Appétit, is a stand-out thanks to the combination of sweet D’Anjou pears and tart dried cherries, which are plumped up in an orange-scented caramel syrup before baking. 

ingredients

Begin by making the walnut streusel topping.

topping-dry-ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.

whisking-dry-ingredients

Add the cold butter.

adding-butter

Rub the butter in with your fingertips until mixture begins to clump together.

rubbing-in-butter

It should look like this.

butter-rubbed-in

Stir in the walnuts, then cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

mixing-in-walnuts

Combine the sugar, butter, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla and salt in a medium pan.

melting-butter-and-sugar

Stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.

boiling-butter-sugar-and-orange-juice

Add the cherries.

adding-cherries

Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the cherries begin to soften and the liquid is caramel colored and thickened, 2-3 minutes.

cherries-in-caramel

Remove from the heat, then add the pears (it’s important to do this right away, as the pears cool the mixture and prevent it from over-caramelizing); stir until pears are evenly coated with caramel sauce.

stirring-in-pears

Transfer the fruit mixture to a small baking dish.

adding-fruit-to-baking-dish

Sprinkle the walnut streusel mixture evenly over top.

ready-to-bake

Then bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pears are tender and the top is crisp and golden. Serve warm or room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Baked-Pear-&-Dried-Cherry-Crisp-with-Walnut-Streusel

Note: This dessert is best served warm out of the oven. You can prepare the streusel and fruit filling ahead of time, but keep them separate in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, top the fruit with the streusel and bake as directed. The recipe can easily be doubled and made in a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Pear & Dried Cherry Crisp with Walnut Streusel

A comforting combination of sweet pears & tart dried cherries, plumped up in an orange-scented caramel syrup.

Servings: 6
Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

For the Streusel

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

For the Filling

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 4 large D'Anjou pears, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and generously butter a 1-1/2 or 2-quart baking dish (I use a small 1-1/2 quart ceramic oval dish, but an 8 x 8 square baking dish will also work).
  2. Make the streusel: Whisk together the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture begins to clump together. Stir in the walnuts. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Make the Filling: Combine the sugar, butter, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla and salt in a medium pan. Stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the dried cherries, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the cherries begin to soften and the liquid is caramel colored and thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, then add the pears (it's important to do this right away, as the pears cool the mixture and prevent it from over-caramelizing); stir until the pears are evenly coated with caramel sauce.
  4. Transfer the fruit mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the streusel mixture evenly over top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pears are tender and the top is crisp and golden. Serve warm or room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  5. Note: This dessert is best served warm out of the oven. You can prepare the streusel and fruit filling ahead of time, but keep them separate in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, top the fruit with the streusel and bake as directed. The recipe can easily be doubled and made in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The crisp can be frozen tightly covered for up to 3 months. Before serving, reheat it, uncovered, in a 300°F oven until heated through and crisp on top.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hello, Could I make this in individual (8 oz) ramekins? If so, what baking time and temperature would you recommend? Thank you!

    • — debbie on February 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, I’ve never prepared this in ramekins, but I think it will be nice that way. I’d suggest checking them at about 20 minutes; just keep an eye on them!

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • Can I substitue dried cranberries for the cherries?

    • — Agnes on November 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure! 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Would this recipe work with frozen cherries?

    Thanks!

    • — Karen on October 28, 2018
    • Reply
    • Unfortunately, they won’t work in this recipe – sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 30, 2018
      • Reply
  • Just tested this recipe for Thanksgiving. Oh my, it’s wonderful! Problem solved! Thank you. You never disappoint.

    • — Marty on November 15, 2017
    • Reply
  • Can this be made with Bartlett pears?

    • — Sue on October 31, 2017
    • Reply
    • Unfortunately, Bartletts won’t work here; they will get too mushy when baking. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 1, 2017
      • Reply
  • This streusel is absolutely delicious! I am not a big fan of desserts but made it for a girls dinner last night. I served it with ice cream and it was a huge hit! This will become a regular. What a great recipe to start your new weekly newletter!

  • I read this and I had to make it that night and it was Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing

  • Fruit desserts are my absolute favorite! This is a really nice variation on the classic Pear/Apple crumble. The flavors remind me a little of mincemeat.

  • This sounds so delish. I think this will be my next recipe to try. Sounds like something that would go great with vanilla ice cream.

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