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Everett, WA, United States
I love trying new recipes and baking for my friends and family.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Perfect Pear Crisp

If you ask Matt about his favorite dessert, he will say pear or peach crisp. I love it too. This weekend I went up to the fruit stand by our house and found some beautiful pears. They almost looked too pretty to cut up! I made a few changes to a pear crisp recipe that I found on Smitten Kitchen. The main change is that I did not have brandy. Instead I used a little almond extract. The end result was delicious, so I think it was a good substitution! I was able to use a vanilla bean that I bought a while ago and it was really fun. I've never baked with a real vanilla bean before. The vanilla and brown butter in this recipe gave the crisp a wonderful flavor. It was different from the usual cinnamon and nutmeg and I think it really let the flavor of the pears come through.

Pear Crisp with Vanilla Brown Butter
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup almonds (I used sliced almonds)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Pulse together flour, almonds, sugar, and salt in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped. Add butter and pulse until just blended. Coarsely crumble in a shallow baking dish and let chill in refrigerator for 1 hour (or up to 2 days in advance, covered).


1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour
3 lbs. pears, peeled and coarsely chopped (I used 7 ripe bartlett pears)
1 teaspoon almond extract

Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean into a small saucepan. Then add the whole pod and butter. Cook over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Be careful that the butter turns just brown - you don't want it to burn!

Stir together white and brown sugars, flour, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add pears and almond extract and toss to combine.

The pears already tasted delicious at this point... I couldn't wait to taste them after they came out of the oven with the crumbly topping!

Discard vanilla pod from butter mixture and toss the butter with the pears. I let my butter cool for about 10 minutes while I peeled and chopped my pears.

Spoon filling into a large baking dish and sprinkle with topping. Bake at 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Cool for about 10 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blueberry Ricotta Muffins

Who doesn't love blueberry muffins? They are the perfect start to a morning. This was a delicious recipe that wasn't too sweet and had just the right texture - light and fluffy, but hearty enough to make a good breakfast or snack. I loved the brightness of the lime zest, as well.

Blueberry Ricotta Muffins
Adapted from Culinerapy

3/4 cup ricotta, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk the ricotta, eggs, and vanilla together, then stir in the melted butter.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lime zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant - yum!

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix these dry ingredients in with the lime-infused sugar. Pour the ricotta mixture on top of the dry ingredients and gently but quickly stir to blend. The batter will be thick and heavy. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter evenly in the muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are golden and springy to the touch.