Pear bourbon crumble

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A few months ago, my boyfriend and I were going through some of his childhood notebooks. One of them was a Grade 1 daily writing exercise book, which he clearly did not enjoy in the least. Most of his entries simply relay the hockey game score from the night before. And in one of the entries — my favourite one — he wrote:

“Today I ate a hot dog. It was hot. It was a hot dog.”

When I first read those lines, I cracked up, but these days, it feels like the joke’s on me. I’ve been wanting to tell you about this crumble for ages now, but can hardly think of anything more exciting to say than: Here is a crumble. It is extremely delicious. Please eat the delicious crumble.


And that’s seriously all I’ve got.

This crumble was adapted from the Four & Twenty Blackbirds cookbook, which is a new cookbook with recipes only about pie. Could there be anything dreamier than that?! Hands-down it is my new favourite cookbook. But I had to make dessert in a bit of a hurry, so I thought I would make their recipe for pear-bourbon-crumble-pie without actually bothering to make a pie crust.

For the record, this makes it not a pie at all, but now just a crumble. A.K.A. the lazy person’s pie. If you are interested in making an actual pie, though, I’ve got you covered.

This crumble is fantastic for a zillion reasons, not the least of which are the bourbon and bitters and white pepper in the filling. It is especially excellent when eaten with vanilla ice cream. Don’t make me say it again, people:

Here is a crumble. It is extremely delicious. Please eat the delicious crumble.


Pear bourbon crumble

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Serving Size: makes a 9-inch round crumble

Recipe adapted from the Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie cookbook


    For the crumble topping
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 3/4c. rolled oats
  • 1/3. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbs (1/4 c.) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces, at room temperature
  • For the filling
  • 1 lemon
  • 5-6 medium pears (enough for ~5c. sliced)
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs bourbon of your choice (I used Buffalo Trace)
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


    For the crumble topping
  1. In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients except for the butter.
  2. Add the butter and toss to coat. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the butter is incorporated and the mixture has the consistency of wet sand, with a few chunks left.
  3. Chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before using.
  4. For the filling
  5. juice the lemon into a large bowl and remove any seeds. Peel and slice the pears, about 1/4" thick. Sprinkle the pears with the 2 Tbs of sugar, and toss to coat evenly in the juice. Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes while the pears macerate. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, spices, and salt. Drain all excess juice from the pears. Toss the sugar mixture into the pears, and drizzle with the bitters, bourbon, and vanilla. Gently toss everything together once or twice with your hands.
  7. Final assembly
  8. Pour the pear mixture into a greased baking dish -- I used a 9" round cake pan, but a 9x9" or 8x8" square pan would work fine as well.
  9. Pat the pears down as much as possible into the dish. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the pears as evenly as possible.
  10. Bake on the middle rack at 375F for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350F and bake for another 30 minutes or until the topping is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling. If your topping is browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil.
  11. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and allow the filling to set, roughly 2 hours. Serve slightly warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Do any of you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to get rid of it? I’d love to hear suggestions!

Until next time.



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3 Responses to “Pear bourbon crumble”

  1. Steph Joy March 13, 2014 at 1:23 PM #

    This sounds delish! Next fancy dinner, methinks.

    When I get writer’s block, I like to go outside. (Or at least, I try to! Sometimes I get distracted by doing the dishes.)

    But sometimes under a deadline, there’s no time to wait for inspiration in the sun and wind, so I just gotta force myself to write something down until I like what’s happening again.

    Do you think you always need to love what you’ve written? Or are there some cases where getting it done is more important than liking it?

    • onetoughcookie March 13, 2014 at 1:57 PM #

      Steph, going outside is a great idea! Hopefully the weather will turn towards spring soon to help make that happen; no one wants to go for a stroll in a blizzard!

      For my work, I prefer to just get it done, but when it’s my personal writing, like what’s on the blog for example, I really want to love what I’ve written. You?

      • Steph Joy March 18, 2014 at 2:28 AM #

        Yes, I agree! Now that I am writing “for myself” and not for a class assignment, I have a greater desire to love what I’ve linguistically birthed!