Food and Drink

A simple fall dessert, this Concord grape and pear crisp is warm and balanced

Pear and Concord grape crisp

One of the easiest of fall desserts — tender pears and Concord grapes with a crisp topping of buttery oats, nuts and just a hint of brown sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Choose ripe but somewhat firm pears, and if you can’t find Concord grapes, look for something similar like Thomcord or another dark purple varietal. Lemon zest and juice help balance out the sweetness, so adjust sugar accordingly. As to the filling, up the ante with a splash of Calvados, bourbon or some crème de cassis, a black currant liqueur that brings out the flavor of the grapes. A generous amount of cinnamon in both the filling and topping is classic, but perhaps consider adding other warming spices such as nutmeg or cardamom. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche, custard sauce or fresh whipped cream.

Pear and Concord grape crisp

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds firm, crisp but ripe pears, about 3, such as Bosc or Anjou, cored and diced

1 pound Concord grapes, or other similar purple grapes, preferably seedless

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or tapioca flour


Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon Calvados or bourbon or crème de cassis (optional)

For the topping:

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or oat muesli

1/2 cup chopped pecans or almonds or walnuts

1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on sweetness of fruit

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For serving: lightly sweetened whipped cream; crème fraîche; ice cream; vanilla custard sauce

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut pears in half and discard cores and stems; dice into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl with lemon zest and juice. If grapes are large, slice in half. Add sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon and, if using, a splash of bourbon or Calvados or crème de cassis; toss to combine and place pear and grape mixture into a 9-inch pie plate or a similar-sized (6-cup capacity) baking dish. In a medium bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine oats, nuts, sugar, salt and cinnamon and stir or pulse to combine. Process butter and pulse, or mix with fingers or pastry blender, until mixture comes together. Top fruit with oat-nut mixture.

• Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes and until fruit is tender and juices begin to bubble and top is crisp and golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream, crème fraiche, ice cream or vanilla custard sauce.

Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée is a bestselling author ("Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home," "A Mouthful of Stars," "Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks") and a former magazine food editor. She's based in Anchorage. For more food and travel, visit