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Vanilla Pear Crisp with Custard Sauce

A sweet pear crisp recipe with vanilla and brown sugar streusel topping. Served with warm custard sauce. Call it dessert, call it breakfast, no judgement here.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Servings: 6
Author: Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD


For filling:

  • 3 1/2 lbs pears peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For topping:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter or unsalted butter + a good pinch of salt

For custard:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 egg yolks lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Pile pears into an 8x8" glass baking dish and toss with the brown sugar and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the topping ingredients using your fingers to squeeze it all together until no dry flour remains. Bake in centre of oven until filling is bubbling at the edges, about 50 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil if topping is browning too quickly.
  • To make custard sauce, stir milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  When bubbles start to form at the edges, slowly pour a stream of about 1/2 a cup into the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Gradually whisk the yolk mixture into remaining hot milk and return to medium-low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl set within an ice bath to cool a bit, then stir in vanilla extract. You can serve it warm or cold.