Pear, Chocolate and Pecan Crumbles

I bought some pears the other day and they were so unripe I could have done some damage throwing them about. But I didn’t. I put them in the fruit bowl to ripen and figured I’d take them to school for breakfast over the week. In typical ripening fruit fashion, they all became ripe at once and so I had to think of something creative to do with them, because, let’s face it, I was never going to eat all eight pears in the next two days or so. Instead I decided to make some pear crumbles, mixing in some very dark chocolate and a few pecans. I haven’t made a lot of dessert on this site yet and I feel that I should (dessert and ice-cream are the two projects for this year I think). Cake is often easier to make and sadly I don’t throw many (any) dinner parties any more so dessert often feels random. But, because the Princess is visiting I thought actually, it being Sunday and all, dessert would be a good idea. And an excuse to use up some of the pears.

Crumble is something it is easier to make more of, rather than less, so I made enough for 5 ramekins. This was quite by accident I might add, because I was aiming for 4, but my skills at guesswork leave something to be desired. It’s not a train smash though, the crumble will keep in the freezer for a while. The good news is I actually measured out the ingredients before mixing everything together and so now have an actual crumble recipe to share with you all. I regard this as a rather exciting development. It means I was paying attention whilst cooking, instead of just going through the motions. I’m sure that makes me a better person somehow. Being centred in the moment and all that.

We ate the crumbles as late afternoon tea, rather than dessert and they were really good. The sweetness of the pear and maple syrup contrasted with the sharp, bitter chocolate. The occasional crunch of pecan just set the whole thing off perfectly. We had them with plain yoghurt which also eased the sugar factor. These are easy to make and quick to put together, if you’re in a hurry. I suspect they make good breakfasts too.

Pear, Chocolate and Pecan Crumbles  
Makes four crumbles
For the Pears:
4 pears
2 Tbsp maple syrup
water to cover
50g dark chocolate

For the Crumble:
2/3 cup oats
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup golden caster sugar
50g butter
heaped 1/3 cup pecans

To make the pears: peel the pears and then chop them into chunks. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Add in the maple syrup. Simmer on a low heat until the pears are tender but not mushy. Scoop the pears out of the syrup and reduce the syrup until thickened – by about two thirds.
Chop the chocolate into chunks.

Divide the pears between four ramekins and add chocolate into each dish. (The chocolate will melt a little.)

For the crumble: preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the oats, flour and sugar into a bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly and starting to form larger pieces of dough. Toss the pecans through the mixture and any smaller chocolate pieces that didn’t go in with the pears.

Cover the ramekins generously with crumble and bake for 30 minutes, until the crumble is brown and the pears are bubbling.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving with yoghurt and a drizzle of syrup. (I dished the crumbles out of their ramekins and into larger bowls, to make the process of eating easier.)