Recipe by Chef Ethan Holmes, Snap Kitchen, Austin, TX, provided courtesy of USA Pears www.usapears.org
The sweet pears in this sensational crisp are nicely contrasted by the savory thyme and tangy goat cheese mousse. The drizzled lavender honey on top caps off the perfect dessert. You can even bake the crisp a day early, then reheat it while you whip up the goat cheese mousse and lavender honey.
Makes one 8 by 8-inch pan or 6 to 8 servings
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut in small pieces
8 large pears (such as Concorde, Bosc, or Red or Green Anjou), peeled, cored and cut in large dice (about 8 cups)
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Goat Cheese Mousse:
1 cup mild goat cheese or chevre
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons dried lavender
1/2 cup mild-flavored honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan, or lightly coat it with pan spray.
To make the streusel topping, measure the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter pieces and use a fork, pastry cutter or your fingers to incorporate the butter until they are no larger than the size of peas. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the pears, lemon juice, thyme leaves, granulated sugar and cornstarch. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pears begin to give up some of their moisture and the sugar dissolves.
Pour the pear mixture into the buttered baking dish and sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top. Next, place the pear mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle the oat mixture evenly over the top. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 50 minutes to one hour, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit below is bubbly. Allow the crisp to cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
While the crisp is cooling, put the goat cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. If it is crumbly, add the sugar and mix slowly on low speed until it is smooth. Add the lemon juice and mix to incorporate. With the mixer on medium-low speed, begin to add the heavy cream in a steady stream followed by the vanilla. Once the mixture begins to come together, increase the speed to medium high and continue to whip until it becomes fluffy. Store the mousse in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the crisp.
Make the lavender honey by pouring the honey in a small saucepan and bringing it to a simmer. Add the lavender and allow the mixture to sit 20 minutes or until the honey is infused with a nice lavender flavor. Strain the dried lavender out of the honey.
To serve the crisp, put a large spoonful on a plate or in a bowl with a dollop of goat cheese mousse on the side. Drizzle both with warm lavender honey.