A Berry Fine Pear

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

Early fall is just right for seasonal juxtapositions, like pairing sweaters with sandals, or  finding rosebuds amid fallen leaves. It seems part of the season’s charm—to trip us up for a minute and make us see something new, or in a new way. I’m always particularly fond of a very summery surprise autumn brings—fresh raspberries. Just as all the fall tree fruits are coming into their glory, there’s a surprise reminiscence of the height of summer. Except fall raspberries are even better, it seems, having soaked up all of summer’s sweetness.

Here’s an exceptional way to savor the last raspberries of the year, layered atop an ample filling of pears and cradled together in a buttery crust. The hint of warming spices and the toasty almonds in the crumb on top perfectly accessorize this fruit duo. A wonderful dessert or tea-time treat, these bars make for berry fine pears.

 

Raspberry Pear Crumb Bars

 

Dough

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup cold butter. cut into pieces

1 large egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup sliced almonds

Filling

2 pounds firm pears, peeled and diced (about 6 cups)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 pint fresh raspberries

 

Set an oven rack in the middle and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 9×13 inch pan. To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor or large bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or a few pulses in the food processor. Add the lightly beaten egg, mixing until the dough is moist and crumbly and just starting to clump together. Firmly press two-thirds of the dough into the pan. Mix the brown sugar and almonds into the remaining crumb mix. Refrigerate the crust and topping while preparing the filling.

In a large bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Gently fold the flour mixture with the pears.

Spread the pears evenly over the chilled crust, sprinkle the raspberries over the pears and crumble the chilled topping over the fruit.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before serving.

 

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