Although I love warm apple desserts, I prefer pears any day of the year, particularly with a touch of Pernod or anise. Bosc pears are my choice when I'm baking, although a combination of Bosc and Comice is excellent too. The prince of eating pears is the Comice, with its very fine texture and sweet and juicy flesh.
Did you know that pears do not ripen well on the tree and are the only fruit that must be picked green and ripened separately? If left to ripen on the tree they turn to mealy mush. Pears ripen from the inside out, too, so don't wait until they are soft all over...just look for some pear fragrance and some softness at the stem end. This is particularly true of Bosc pears. If you wait until they're ripe all over, you will also see dark bruises.
This dessert is wonderful for a family meal, particularly Sunday dinner. If you want to dress it up, add some dried cranberries (1/2 cup) to the fruit. Don't forget the ice cream!
5 Bosc pears
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 TB all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 star anise crushed
2 TB viognier white wine (optional)
For the topping:
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
8 TB (1stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel, core, and cut the pears into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the lemon juice, sugar, flour, crushed anise, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into a greased oval baking dish.
For the topping:
Combine the flour, sugars, salt, and oats in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse twice to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is in large crumbles, about 5 or 6 times. Sprinkle in chunks evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is brown and the fruit juices have begun to bubble up and caramelize around the edges. Remember it depends on your oven! add more time if needed. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. When you are ready to serve, break through the crust with a large serving spoon and scoop the warm fruit, juices and topping into individual bowls or plates. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Note: If you have some semi sweet wine opened, add it, if not you can skip it. I happened to have some in the refrigerator and it added a nice touch!