Lemon Thyme & Ginger

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

Last week I was making a vegan plum crisp for my brother-in-law and while shopping for some plums I spied ripe Forelle pears. It may seem a bit too early for pears, but Forelle pears are now ripe and ready at my local farm stand. I love the way Forelle pears look, they are so adorable in its petit form looking like a baby Bartlett pear with rosy cheeks. I find them hard to resist and are the perfect size for an afternoon snack. Change of plans, my plum crisp just got a makeover and turned into a vegan plum and pear crisp with lots of fresh ginger and a hint of nutmeg.

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe

What Is A Crisp?

Crumble or crisp? I have confused the names of these two desserts for so many years. It is just that the actual name of each dessert is opposite to what my backward brain believes it should be. Essentially aren’t they the same dessert after all? Yes and no. Both the crumble and crisp are baked fruit desserts with a crusty topping. However, one has rolled oats in the topping and the other does not.

A fruit crisp has the rolled oats and flour topping and is so named because the rolled oats make the rough and tumble topping crispy like an oatmeal cookie. A fruit crumble is made with all-purpose flour, butter, sugar and gets all soft and crumbly while baking and soaking up the fruit juices.

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

Plum and Pear Crisp

This is one of the easiest desserts you can make, and it is one that is so satisfying. Essentially it is baked fruit with a giant cookie topping like two desserts in one. Top it off with some vanilla ice cream and you have 3 dessert indulgences on your plate.

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

The recipe is a basic formula for all fruit crisps. Usually, crips have around 6 cups (1.5 Liters) of fruit filling for the standard amount. This formula works with any type of fruit like plums, pears, apples or other stone fruit. This amount of fruit filling fills a nine-inch (23 cm) pie plate or 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish.

The topping generally has equal parts of rolled oats to all-purpose flour with butter and sugar. For this recipe, I wanted to make a vegan dessert so, I used a vegan butter substitute. I have success using Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread. (Not an ad.) The flavor is pleasant and tastes natural, unlike some kinds of margarine. FYI, not all margarine is vegan. It is one of the easiest desserts to convert to a vegan option because the butter is the only animal product to find a substitute for.

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

Keys to Success

The key to a perfectly baked plum and pear crisp lies in the fruit selection. The type of pear or plum is not as important, but how ripe they are is. Your fruit must be ripe. Ideally just ripe or a smidgen off ripe. Overripe plums and pears will dissolve into a sauce and not keep their shape. Unripe plums and pears will never get soft no matter how long you bake them. It is just not their time. Plus, they do not have any flavor.

Types of Plums

Types of Pears

I used a combination of black plums and European plums, like a Moyer plum. The European plum has a longer and oval shape compared to the roundness of black plums. Any type of plum will taste great as long as they are ripe.

For the pears, I used only Forelle, because they were ripe. Bosc pears work very well in a crisp or pie because they keep its shape. I did not peel the Forelle pears, but if I used Bosc pears I would peel them as the skin is rougher and thicker than Forelle pears.

Best pears for Baking

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

My Mistake

I have made this plum and pear dessert many times, yet as you can see in my photographs, this time around I went a little overboard with the fruit filling. Ideally, you want a level surface of fruit filling for the buttery topping to spread over. The fruit cooks evenly when it is not piled up so high and the rolled oats in the topping won’t burn before the crisp is done.

My problem is the result of a shallow baking dish, that I chose because it would photograph better than my trusty Pyrex deep dish pie pan. My vanity resulted in a delicious plum and pear crisp, but one that did not bake as evenly as it should. I say this, so you can learn from my mistake and not feel you must make your crisp overflowing with fruit like I did.

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

More Fruit Desserts: Nectarine and Blueberry Galette, Peach and Mixed Berry with Sabayon, Nifty Cake, Gluten-free Nifty Cake, Lemon Cake, Apricot Streusel Cake, Almond Cherry and Peach Galette.

Mix It Up

Use any fruit for the filling. Apples, pears, plums, nectarines or other stone fruit. I added some blackberries with the plums and pears in my crisp just for fun. If you want to make a mixed berry crisp, mix the berries with a type of fruit that retains its shape like nectarines,  plums, or Bosc pears. Otherwise, it will look saucy without any distinctive fruit shapes.

Change the spices. I love fresh ginger with fruit and use it often. Other good spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or ground clove. Lemon zest and lemon juice brighten up the fruit and the juice prevents apples and pears from browning. Lemon zest is also a nice accent flavor mixed in the topping.

Add dried fruit like chopped dried apricots or cranberries. They add a tart concentrated flavor to the fruit filling and help absorb some of the fruit juices. Add about a half a cup (125 ml) at the most. Dried fruit should be an accent flavor, not a featured one.

Add nuts or unsweetened coconut flakes to the topping. Pecans, walnuts or almonds give the topping some extra crunch. If you add unsweetened coconut flakes, add a 1/2 a cup (125 ml), and remove equal amounts of rolled oats and all-purpose flour (1/4 cup, 60 ml, each).

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

P.S. Yes, I do see the reflection of the chandelier in the spoon. I could not get the darn clone stamp to work in Photoshop so I gave up and included the photo anyway. To all the Photoshop experts out there, how do you get rid of reflections in shiny objects like a silver spoon?

Print
Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp recipe.

Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp

Fruit crisp has a basic formula that is suitable for any seasonal fruit. This basic formula makes it easy to personalize your crisp using the fruit and spices you love. I love using fresh ginger with fruit as it adds some bite and compliments most fruits like pears, plums and apples. However, ground ginger does not taste as bright as fresh ginger in baked desserts.

Often, I need a vegan dessert and I find fruit crisps are an easy vegan dessert option. There are no eggs or dairy products to maintain the structure of a crisp so all you need to substitute is a plant-based butter-like spread. In this recipe, you can use equal amounts of vegan butter spread or real butter. When selecting a vegan butter spread, read the ingredients list carefully to make sure there are no dairy or other animal-based ingredients in the mix. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword pear crisp, vegan dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (1.5 L) prepared fruit. Depending on the type and size of plums you will need 5- 6 plums. And, 4-6 Forelle pears or 3-4 Bosc pears
  • 6 oz (170 g) blackberries optional
  • 1 ½ inch (14 g) knob of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2/3 cup 113 g packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup 75 g rolled oats ( not quick rolled oats)
  • ¾ cup 100g all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup 27 g toasted nuts, like pecans, almonds or walnuts, chopped
  • 5 TB 86 g straight out of the refrigerator vegan butter substitute or butter
  • Pinch 1/8 tsp of Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Set the oven rack into the middle position and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly butter a 9-inch (23 cm) pie pan or 8-inch (20 cm) square pan. Set aside.

  2. Slice open the plums and remove the pits then slice the plums into wedges. Add the plums into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Slice each pear in half and remove the core. Then cut each pear into chunks about 1/2 -3/4 of an inch (1 cm - 1.5 cm). Add the pears into the bowl with the plums. The skin on Forelle pears is very thin and tender so I do not peel them. However, if you are using Bosc pears, you might want to peel the skin.

  4. Add the minced ginger and grated nutmeg to the bowl with the fruit along with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Mix together until the sugar and spices are thoroughly mixed through the fruit. Set aside.
  5. In another bowl add the sugar, rolled oats, all-purpose flour, toasted nuts and a pinch of Kosher salt. Mix together with your clean hands until the butter and all ingredients are evenly incorporated and forming soft clumps of dough.
  6. Pour the fruit into your prepared baking pan then sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the top of the fruit. Place your baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, then slide into the oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the top is evenly browned and the juices are bubbly.
  7. Cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot or room temperature. Best eaten the day it is made. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, loosely covered in aluminum foil.
Ginger Plum and Pear Crisp.Recipe for a plum and pear crisp seasoned with fresh ginger and nutmeg.

 

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Aquafaba Meringue

Aquafaba meringue nests for vegan pavlova

A year ago I read an article on Food52 about an amazing food discovery – aquafaba. Aquafaba is bean water that comes from canned beans or home cooked beans. This is an ingredient that is unseemly and easy to ignore. I sometimes use it in hummus, but I mostly just pour it down the drain. Fortunately, some very clever and persistent people discovered that aquafaba has similar properties to egg whites and could be whipped into stiff peaks and make aquafaba meringue. This amazing discovery for an egg substitute has changed vegan baking, and general baking, forever.

Chickpea water is the surprise ingredient to make aquafaba meringue. a delicious vegan dessert.

Aquafaba from a can of chickpeas

At first, I struggled visualizing a white and fluffy aquafaba meringue, just the smell alone of chickpea brine, (especially canned) will deter anyone from considering there is merit in that broth. Vegan baking is a challenging concept for me.

I often wonder, how do you bake without eggs? It is the glue that holds everything together and gives structure and texture to baked desserts.  Could aquafaba really replace egg whites? I trust Food52 and their research, and I saw aquafaba was a trending discussion all over the web. My curiosity was sparked, and a year later, after relishing making and eating egg white meringue desserts-lemon meringue pie, dacquoise, pavlova, coconut chocolate meringue cookies, I finally put my mind to it and convinced myself it was time to make aquafaba meringues.

Aquafaba meringue is a delicious vegan dessert.

Soft peaks of aquafaba meringue

Aquafaba meringue is a delicious vegan dessert.

Stiff and glossy peaks of aquafaba meringue

To learn more about aquafaba check out these Facebook pages, Aquafaba Everything and Vegan Meringue Hit and Misses

Also The official aquafaba website.

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© 2016 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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