While spring may just be around the corner, in the Bay area we’re hunkering down for a few days of winter storms to blow through with cold rain and powerful winds. Just the kind of weather we look forward to for desserts like this one. Fennel is just starting to come into season and pears are abundant as well. Together with lemon they give a bright flavor that would go well after a hearty roast pork dinner. While the pears become tender and juicy in the baking, the fennel remains pleasantly crisp and crunchy. Drizzle some crème fraiche for a sour counterpoint or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for cool sweeter accent.
It’s important to let the crumble stand unmolested for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the juices to thicken and congeal. If you serve it straight from the oven, it will fall apart.
3 oz walnuts
1 cup AP flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, 1/2 “ cubes
3 Bartlett pears, ½” dice
1 large fennel bulb, ½” dice
1 lemon, juiced and zested
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp flour
Butter as needed.
1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) Pulse walnuts and flour together in food processor 3 or 4 times until just mixed. Add remaining topping ingredients and pulse until just barely combined. Do not over mix.
3) Mixed diced pears and fennel with lemon zest and juice. Add remaining ingredients and mix until uniformly distributed.
4) Butter a 10 inch pie plate. Pour pear mixture into plate and spread out into uniform layer. Spread topping mixture over, pushing it to the edges of the plate and making sure it is even throughout.
5) Place on a baking sheet and bake on a middle rack for 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden.
6) Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving to let juices thicken.
(This article also appears on Examiner.com at http://www.examiner.com/food-in-san-fra