So, my first Cozy Little Kitchen order was quite exciting to receive! I was asked to bake something for some good friends to take home to their family Christmas dinner. Family Christmas, Me?!? So of course I was ecstatic and honored to do so. How could I pass this rare opportunity to share my humble baking skills with my friends' loved ones? Our friends requested the Pear Cobbler with Blueberry Streusel topping. I have this baked for them before and we all just loved it! However...I must give credit where it's due; this is based upon a Tyler Florence recipe that I have from one of his cookbooks. I love Tyler's cooking and recipes -- after he won us over with his Ultimate Chicken Parm recipe! (That's for another blog....)
Anyway, you may be thinking, "Pears and Blueberries?...little bit of an odd combo." The original recipe actually calls for using cranberries, which you know I love. The first time I made it I only had blueberries on hand so that's what I tossed in, and it turned out to be a perfectly delicious decision! This cobbler, unlike most southern cobbler recipes I know, has the pears only cored and cut in halves and then delicately arranged around the dish. I think this makes the dessert look more elegant while showing off the almost feminine curves of the pears. (Also, saves you time on chopping!)
I love making this dessert! This time I made it, I actually prepped some of the ingredients the night before to save on time the next day. I put all of the dry streusel topping ingredients (everything but the butter and blueberries) together in a zip lock bag. I did the same with the dry ingredients for the filling, and I washed the fresh blueberries and had those ready in the fridge. I feel more organized whenever I prep what I can beforehand and the actual baking process doesn't seem as intimidating, especially when you are short on time.
There are a couple of things I would do differently the next time I prepare this wonderful dish. First, I wouldn't let the butter soften as the recipe says. This may just be something I am doing the wrong way, but I have found that when it get softened it is much more difficult to make a crumbly streusel on the top. Before I put mine in the oven, it looked a bit gobby and wet. Although the outcome was quite mouth watering and they said it was delicious, I just got a little frustrated while I was cutting my butter into the dry ingredients. Well, this is something that would be up to you -- but the next time I think I am going to try to keep the butter cold. Second, this dish will bubble a lot in the oven. Although mine never bubbled over, you may want to put a foil-covered baking sheet on the rack below just in case.
It was a pleasure to make this delicious dessert for dear friends over the holiday season. This cobbler is perfect to eat after a comfy supper on a chilly winter night. Serve a warm scoop of cobbler with homemade whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy!
Unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 Bartlett Pears
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (or not)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 by 8in. baking dish or deep dish pie pan. Dust the dish with the granulated sugar and tap out any excess.
Peel the pears and cut them in half through the stem end. Use a melon baller to scoop out the cores. Put the pear halves in a large bowl and sprinkle with vanilla and toss. Then sprinkle over the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss so that the pears are really well coated with the flavorings. Set the pears in a single layer, cored side down, in the baking dish.
Now make the topping. In the same bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt and mash it all together with your fingers. Toss in the blueberries. Crumble the topping mixture over the pears in a baking dish and bake until the topping is nice and crunchy and browned and the pears are very tender, 35-40 minutes. (I baked mine the entire 40 minutes.) Let cool for at least 20 minutes and serve warm!