Asian Pear Crumble

  • images/asian_pear_crumble.jpg

Makes 6 servings

A crumble is as much part of the American food tradition as pie, but it is much faster to put together. I've given this all-American dessert an Asian touch by using Asian pears and Chinese five-spice powder. It is especially delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream.

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 pounds Asian pears
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bags jasmine tea

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apricot pineapple preserves
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons water

Topping

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 cup Japanese-style bread crumbs (panko)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, soak cranberries in hot water to cover until softened, about 10 minutes; drain. Peel, core and thinly slice Asian pears. Place cranberries and pears in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
  3. Zest lemon, then juice. Add zest, juice and five-spice powder to fruit; stir to coat.
  4. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil; remove from heat, add tea bags and steep for 3 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add brown sugar and preserves to tea. Return heat to medium-high and cook mixture, stirring, until sugar dissolves and preserves are melted, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to high; add cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Pour over fruit.
  5. To prepare topping: In a wide frying pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and five-spice powder; cook until sugar dissolves. Add bread crumbs and stir to evenly coat. Spoon topping evenly over fruit.
  6. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, until pears are tender and topping is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Scoop into dessert bowls and serve warm.