There’s nothing like the perfect bite of warm fruit crisp. It’s juicy, crunchy, and slightly tart. I’ve made thousands of fruit crisps as a pastry chef and I’m letting you in on my best-kept secrets with this gluten free pear dessert.
With all the technological advances we have these days, why have they not invented scratch-and-sniff food blogs? Because as much as this gluten free pear dessert tastes amazing, it smells even more incredible.
I had a gluten-free friend coming for Thanksgiving dinner and I wanted to make a dessert he could get excited about. I decided on a gluten-free pear crumble dotted with festive tart cranberries. While I was baking it, the whole house filled up with the aromas of tart cranberry, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Basically all my memories of the holidays in one perfect scent. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to suggest making this for the scent alone, but maybe?
Everything about this luscious fruit crisp is over the top delicious. The melt-in-your-mouth ripe pears, the vibrant cranberries, and the crunchy topping made with almond flour and walnuts combine for true dessert bliss. Keep reading for all my chef’s tips on making the best gluten free pear dessert ever!
The Secrets To Make The Best Fruit Crisp
Want to know the one thing that separates a so-so crisp from a sensational one? The quality of the fruit. Fresh, seasonal fruit just tastes better and when the fruit is sweet you don’t have to use as much sugar.
For this recipe we are using fresh pears. The kind of pears are not as important as their ripeness. I like to use a combination for this delicious dessert. Bartlett pears, green Anjou pears, red Anjou pears, or Bosc pears all work. When you start with a ripe, juicy pear you can’t go wrong.
(By the way, did you know I have a post dedicated to pear recipes?)
Aside from the fruit, the other important difference in an excellent crisp is the fruit to topping ratio. There should be equal amounts of melt-in-your-mouth fruit to crunchy crumble topping. This gluten-free pear crumble is loaded with an even layer of buttery brown sugar oat topping.
Lastly, serving this easy pear crisp warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is how it is meant to be. There really is no better way to enjoy this gluten free pear crisp than with melty ice cream and maybe a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
See recipe card for exact amounts.
- Juicy, sweet pears
- Granulated sugar or coconut sugar
- Ground ginger
- Butter or coconut oil or vegan butter for a dairy-free version. Both need to be at room temperature.
- Almond flour (almond meal)
- Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
- Brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Ground cinnamon
- Salted caramel sauce. For serving, optional
How To Make This Recipe (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Get ready to bake. Heat the oven to 375 degrees f and arrange a rack in the middle.
Make the filling. Combine the pears, cranberries, sugar, orange zest, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, orange juice, and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Toss to mix evenly. I like to peel the pears for a smoother texture. Invest in a good Y-peeler and it’ll be a snap.
Pour into dish. Pour the pear mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. I use my Le Creuset gratin dish. Dot the top of the filling with the 4 tablespoons of butter.
Make the topping. Combine almond flour, oats, brown sugar, walnuts, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and work the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until large clumps form.
Top the crisp. Sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the fruit until it is completely coated.
Bake. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set the baking dish on top. This will catch any drips and keep your oven clean. Bake until the filling is bubbly and the top of a deep golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.
Serve. Let crisp cool at least 15 minutes then serve warm with vanilla ice cream and for extra flavor, salted caramel sauce drizzled over everything. Cover leftovers with aluminum foil or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
For a different flavor and slightly firmer texture, substitute the same amount of apples for the pears. For this apple crisp, use the same topping and keep the cranberries or just use all apples.
If you are allergic or just don’t like nuts, other gluten-free options for the flour would be oat flour or gluten-free flour blend. All purpose flour can be used if you are not worried about it being gluten-free.
Other starches to use as a thickener for the filling would be tapioca starch. This is a good option to keep this dessert gluten-free.
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This crisp recipe is a warm hug and a great addition to any party. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below and share a photo tagging me on Instagram using @katesbestrecipes so that I can see (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating)! Also, sign up for my weekly recipe newsletter so you never miss a thing.
Gluten-Free Pear Cranberry Crisp
For The Filling
- 3 pounds pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 12 ounces (3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed or vegan butter for dairy-free version
For The Topping
- Heat oven to 375°F and arrange rack in the middle. Combine pears, cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and juice, and ginger in a large bowl and toss until fruit is well coated. Pour fruit into a 2-quart baking dish. Dot the top with the 4 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces.
- Combine almond flour, oats, brown sugar, walnuts, salt, and cinnamon in a separate medium bowl and stir until sugar is broken up and everything is incorporated. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until the mixture sticks to itself when squeezed.
- Pick up handfuls of the oat mixture and squeeze together to create a clump. Then break-up the clump over the fruit so you get good-sized pieces of topping. Repeat until all topping is used and fruit is covered.
- Place baking dish on a parchment-lined baking sheet to catch drips. Bake until topping is dark golden brown and fruit is bubbling, about 40 to 45 minutes.
- Let crisp cool at least 15 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce, for some extra indulgence.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled crisp freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake (covered) in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until heated through. You can prepare the crisp through step 3, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day before baking. You can also freeze the unbaked crisp for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then continue with step 4. Bake time will be a little longer since the crisp will be cold.
- Pears: See blog post above for the best pears to use. It is important that the pears are ripe but still a bit firm. An equal mix of Bosc and D’anjou is my favorite for pear crisp.
- Gluten-free flour: If you don’t want to use almond flour, substitute gluten-free oat flour or gluten-free flour blend.
- Nuts: Feel free to substitute chopped pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts for the walnuts in the crisp topping.
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