Cardamom Pear Crisp


Cardamom Pear Crisp with Oats

All of the women in my extended family gather around the dining table for a rowdy game of Taboo over dessert every Thanksgiving. Picking your team is serious business – my mom has two sisters and between the three of them, the odds are high that you’ll end up on a team where the entire sand timer is spent hysterically laughing with a bit fat zero on the scoreboard. As a competitive Taboo player, I spend the afternoon gauging their silly score (this is totally a real measurement) and tallying glasses of wine. Game face. You guys, I kick butt at Taboo. My secret power?

Oat crisp with Pears

I forget words. ALL. THE. TIME in my day to day life.

In the course of spending an afternoon with me, there will be at least half a dozen times where I stumble over the word I’m trying to say and instead have to describe it to you with ten other words until you can tell me what’s on the tip of my tongue. You might call it annoying, but I like to think of it as Taboo training in real life – I’m BUILT for this game. Or at least the clue-giving part. I’m a terrible guesser.

Cardamom Oatmeal Pear Crisp

Best if I demonstrate. I’ll give you clues to the secret ingredients that makes this cardamom pear crisp extra special – you guess. First word/phrase: I partnered with the Grain Foods Foundation to bring you this family holiday dessert featuring this grain. Some people eat it for breakfast as a warm dish sprinkled with a bit of sugar, nuts, and berries. Others bake it into _<blank>_ raisin cookies. What’s the grain?

Great. Second word/phrase: I used some of that grain, but then I also ground it up into a thin powder. Instead of all-purpose _<blank> _, I now have _<blank> _ _<blank>_.

Oatmeal Cardamom Pear Crisp

Did you guess OATS and OAT FLOUR? I hope so. Taboo is hard when I can’t judge whether you’re following my thought process. And lonely.

While experimenting with milling an array of uncommon grains, beans, and seed flours with Phi and Alanna a couple of Sundays ago, I got inspired to grind all of the grains in my kitchen.

The easiest of which is oats. Unlike some of the harder grains that demand a grain mill and lots of time, oats are simple. They only ask for a few pulses in a blender or food processor to transform into powdery soft flour that’s full of protein and fiber. With this cardamom pear crisp, there’s no need to sift the oat flour after grinding it since we’re mixing it all up with some whole rolled oats for a textured topping.

Cardamom Oat Pear Crumble

This warm pear dessert recipe is a fall spin on the peach crisp my mom makes with her backyard harvest every summer. When I called up my mom to ask for her famous family recipe, she replied, “I think I just use the one from Joy of Cooking.” Womp womp. Then she texted me a few minutes later to tell me she adds walnuts. And whole oats. THAT’S more like it.

Oatmeal Cardamom Pear Crumble

To celebrate the versatility of oats, I swapped out all the flour for oat flour, added almond meal, and gave my mom’s family recipe a holiday make-over with the fall fruit of my affection: pears. The result was a much thinner topping than mom’s, but just as crispy and nearly caramel-like. Cloaked in a cardamom blanket, the warm sweetened pears spill out the sides of the buttery oat crumble. Top it with a scoop of ice cream – you won’t regret it.

Cardamom Pear Oat Crisp

Added bonus: whole grains like oats are said to be good for cognitive health, so eating this dessert will make you a stronger Taboo player. That’s science. Find other holiday recipes with whole grains at Grains for your Brains.

What are your favorite recipes with oats or oat flour?

What holiday desserts will you be serving this year?

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Cardamom Pear Crisp
Yields: 6 servings
Cardamom Oat Crisp Topping
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup oat flour (I create my own by grinding rolled oats in my food processor or blender)
  • ¼ cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (from about 2-3 pods - I grind mine in a coffee maker)
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
Cardamom Pear Filling
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 5 pears, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick slices (I used an mixture of Bartlett, Bosc, and Comice pears to get a combination of soft, crisp, and sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom from 4-6 pods)
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt
Cardamom Oat Crisp Topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. For the crisp topping: Combine the rolled oats, oat flour, almond meal, dark brown sugar, sugar, and ground cardamom in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add the cubed butter and use your hands to combine until the butter is no bigger than the size of a pea and parts of the crumble clump together when pinched. Set aside.
Cardamom Pear Filling
  1. Melt the butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced pears, dark brown sugar, ground cardamom, corn starch, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and salt to the melted butter in the cast-iron skillet, tossing to evenly combine.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the pears begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the clumpy crumble over the top of the pears and put the skillet in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pears are soft and the topping is golden brown. Don't worry if the topping looks moist when it first comes out of the oven, as it cools, it will crisp up!
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with ice cream!

**Disclosure: This recipe post is sponsored by the Grain Foods Foundation, but please rest-assured that all opinions expressed here are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep Snixy Kitchen baking!

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  1. What a fun Thanksgiving tradition! And this dessert is simply gorgeous! Pinned.

  2. This looks absolutely delicious! My older son loves pears and what a great way to use them! I love Apple Crisp with oats so I need to try this. :)

  3. Melissa Falk says:

    This looks like a great and healthy dessert. I love cardamom! Thanks for sharing.

  4. SO beautiful!!! This looks like a total winner. Anything in a small skillet is my favorite :)

  5. I’ve never played Taboo. It sounds like so much fun. This crisp looks fabulous. Cardamom and pears is a wonderful combination!

  6. Haha you are hilarious – I love Taboo! Let’s play it on the ski trip this year :D (PS: you should also make me pear crisps on the ski trip)

  7. We’re a Scrabble family, but we’ve recently started playing a little Apples to Apples to switch things up. :)

  8. A little secret? Asheley and I cannot play Taboo together. We tried once. And only once. And let’s just say Asheley has put a ban on that game. Apparently I get a little too competitive and with the mixture of my will to win and the wee bit of wine we enjoyed that night, it did not end well hahahahaha.

    This crisp sounds amazing! I’m a huge fan of pears and never thought of making a crisp with them! Pinning!

    • Hahaha I definitely have a few friends I’m not allowed to play Taboo with. And Lucas and I always do much better at games when we’re on the same team;) Thanks for spreading the love, Chris!

  9. Love me some board games! Particularly with wine. And this pear crisp is gorgeous. Pears, brown sugar, oats and cardamom?? So perfect.

  10. Yum! The flavours in this sounds great. I love pears, especially when they’re baked. And I love that there’s no flour in the crumble, I bet it’s all nutty and interesting!

  11. Beautiful! I adore fruit crisps! This looks fabulous, Sarah!

  12. Love this crisp, Sarah! I’ve been putting cardamom is everything lately. I can’t decide what to serve for holiday desserts this year. Too many good things to choose from – I want everything!

  13. Looks delicious! Pears are my favorite fall fruit!

  14. I love crisps! This looks so delicious!

  15. Christie says:

    Thanks for this recipe Sarah!! I am obsessed with pears right now! We used to have a pear tree in our backyard, and my mom would make the best pear cake. I can’t eat that anymore, so this will be my new pear dessert!


  16. Yumm this looks so great for fall!!

  17. I’ve been told that I’m a very animated clue giver in games like Taboo. Maybe it’s because I confuse myself by thinking that I’m playing charades! Love that the family recipe is derived from Joy of Cooking! This pear crisp looks fantastic!

    • Haha just last night I was talking about how I often use my hands like charades when I forget words…which is not allowed in Taboo! I’m picturing you jumping up and down “WHY DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY WITH MY HANDS!?” Ha. Thanks so much, Lisa!

  18. I was just reading that Vitamix has a new attachment that mills grains for you and I about died. I really wanted one before but I now pretty much have to have one!

    But it’s nice that you don’t need all of the fancy stuff to make oat flour. Everything about this sounds delicious and comforting! The perfect dessert for fall!

    • Ooo! That’s a very convincing argument for a Vitamix! The grain mill I have is an attachment for my KitchenAid…so if you don’t have a KitchenAid already, you probably need one of those while you’re out shopping;) Thanks so much, Sarah!

  19. This has my name all over it! I’m making it this weekend – maybe even tonight. This is exactly the kind of dessert I love best!

  20. sarah! i LOOOOOOVe taboo!! i too am a pretty kick ass taboo player. it’s intense and fun and i love it. haven’t played since college though. also, i love cardamom and pear and this looks amazing. haven’t tried oat flour but now i’m inspired. thanks!

  21. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices to bake with. I am imagining this crisp smells heavenly and tastes amazing.

  22. This cardamom pear crisp looks delicious, I have to make it for one of our holiday parties! :)

  23. Andi says:

    What a really unique dessert, it feels like using the oats will make it more savory, I don’t like fruit desserts to be too sweet (for that I want chocolate). Holiday desserts that I like? Sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting!

  24. oh my gawd, I love Taboo!! great family game. . love that you grinded your own oats!! ok, this cardamom-pear-crisp is so happening in my kitchen. . and love love love the flavor combo here!! winning!!

  25. This crisp looks delicious! Love the cardamon, one of my most favourite spices! So fragrant and tasty!

  26. Yay pears! Also, please make this for me? It looks AMAZING!

  27. I freaking love Taboo. We HAVE to play together!!! I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty awesome. IT IS ON.

    Also, why am I not cloaked in a cardamom blanket RIGHT NOW?”

  28. Oh my gosh, I love Taboo! You totally reminded me that that we haven’t played in a while and that it needs to happen. And so does this pear crisp! It looks amazing! Love the cardamom and pear combo!

  29. I love Taboo! In college, my roommates and I would pull all-nighters to play. It was a never ending game because we were all so competitive. I’m sure if I baked them your cardamon pear crisp, my team would surely win because the others would be too busy eating :)

  30. This is beyoooooteefullll. Love it! Oats, Oat Flour, Walnuts, mom recipes that they tweaked without realizing they tweaked it, and all.

  31. I love playing taboo! Except when my sister is in charge of the buzzer, and when you say a “prohibited word” she buzzes it IN YOUR EAR! She thinks it’s so funny, especially after glass of wine number 3. haha! This cardamom pear crisp sounds delicious!

  32. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. This looks super delicious and easy. Thanks for sharing!

  33. I love Taboo!! My college roommates and I used to have some epic Taboo games at 3 in the morning. SO fun!

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