Pears can be overlooked in favour of apples, but they’re a great autumn and winter fruit. Some varieties, like the one used here, are in season now but will last in cold storage into January, and others are meant to be stored for months before being eaten in the winter.
That means it’s a great fruit to choose from now right until spring if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, either to eat raw or baked into cozy desserts like this pear crisp! Depending on the type you choose you may have to cook it, so keep that in mind.
The combination of pear and chocolate is a classic, and with cardamom, vanilla, and caramel undertones from maple syrup and coconut sugar, this is the kind of dessert to make when the leaves start falling and snow (maybe) follows.
Scroll to the bottom of the post or click “skip to recipe” above to see the recipe card with full ingredient measurements and instructions.
- Maple syrup or date syrup (see substitutions)
- Arrowroot or tapioca starch
- Cardamom (see substitutions)
- Dark chocolate
- Oat flour
- Rolled oats
- Coconut sugar
- Sea salt
- Coconut oil
- Non-dairy milk (I use oat milk)
Preheat the oven and set a baking dish aside. Mine is about 22cm but a bit bigger or smaller is fine. Prep and chop the pears, and place them into the baking dish with the syrup, arrowroot, cardamom, and vanilla. Mix with a spoon to coat the fruit well, then stir in the chocolate pieces.
To make the crumble topping, add the flour, oats, coconut sugar, hazelnuts, and salt to a bowl. Mix to combine, then add the coconut oil and milk. Use a wooden spoon or your hands (I recommend using your hands) to mix until well combined.
Top the pear mixture with the streusel, trying to get as even a layer as possible. Use your hands to crumble it on to ensure evenness.
Bake the crisp for about half an hour, or until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling around the edges. Cool for at least ten minutes before serving.
Tips and Notes
Adding milk to a vegan crisp topping mimics the make-up of butter, which has some water content. Using pure fat (just coconut oil) makes a greasy crisp that loses its shape during baking – the oat milk improves the structure, texture, and taste.
Serve this warm, with ice cream, if you can! Pictured is a hazelnut ice cream, sweetened with date syrup (so it’s a bit darker), based off of my coconut milk ice cream. When it’s still warm, the melted chocolate swirling through is fantastic.
It’s up to you whether you want to peel the pears or not. I don’t, but some varieties have a very tough skin that can be a bit unpleasant.
The pear variety I used here is Conference, a popular table pear developed in England in the 19th century. Use a type that you like the flavour of, because you will taste it here.
Use maple syrup, date syrup, apple, any kind of liquid sweetener you like. If it’s not important to keep the crisp vegan, honey is a good substitution. Cornstarch can be used in place of arrowroot or tapioca.
If you don’t like cardamom, use cinnamon, nutmeg, or another spice instead. Make sure you go with something that pairs well with the chocolate.
If gluten isn’t an issue, just use spelt or wheat flour. It can be subbed 1:1 for the oat flour in this recipe without any issues. Quick oats can take the place of rolled oats in a pinch, but the texture won’t be as good.
Leave the hazelnuts out if needed, or sub walnuts or sunflower seeds in their place. Brown sugar, especially light brown sugar, is a good substitution for coconut sugar, and others like maple, apple, or date sugar work as well.
More Autumn Desserts
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Hazelnut Pear Crisp with Chocolate
- 1 kg pears, cored and chopped
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup*
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 50 grams dark chocolate, chopped
Oat Streusel Topping
- 120 grams oat flour
- 50 grams rolled oats
- 75 grams hazelnuts, chopped
- 80 grams coconut sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Set a baking dish aside (about 22cm or 9 in.).
- Place the chopped pears, syrup, arrowroot powder, vanilla, and cardamom into the baking dish. Mix to coat the fruit evenly, then stir in the chocolate.
- To make the streusel topping, add the flour, oats, hazelnuts, sugar, and salt to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine, then add the coconut oil and milk. Use your hands to mix until a crumbly dough forms.
- Crumble the streusel over the pear mixture in as even a layer as possible.
- Bake the crisp for 30-35 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling around the edges.
- Cool for at least ten minutes before serving.
This post was originally published in January 2016. It has been updated with a re-tested recipe, new text, and new photos as of October 2020.