By Stan Parish, GQ
You avoided candied-yams duty, but now you're responsible for the Thanksgiving dinner's grand finale. Relax-this dessert is all about playing it safe while looking like you went all out. You say "crisp" and they think "apple." Then you drop the plot twist: It's pear crisp (because pears are at their peak right now) with a hit of ginger (for zing, though the fact that it's a digestive aid doesn't hurt).
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The "techniques" involved-slicing fruit; mixing butter, pecans, and brown sugar with your bare hands-are all skills a hyperactive 9-year-old could handle. I know, because I was 9 when my mom taught me how to make this dish. Look for Bartlett or Anjou pears, which have the sweetness to stand up to ginger and do well in the oven. The hardest step: remembering to pick up ice cream.
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
5 tbsp. granulated sugar
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, well softened
3 tbsp. candied ginger, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
8 medium pears, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
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1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Toast the pecans over medium heat until fragrant. Set aside.
3. Mix the ﬂour, brown sugar,nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, and pinchesof cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and combine until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the pecans.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the ginger, lemon juice, pears, the remaining granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt.
5. Place the fruit into an 8-by-10-inch baking dish, layer on the crumble, and bake until the topping is crisp, about 50 minutes.
6. In the unlikely event that there are leftovers, eat for breakfast.
Photo by Romulo Yanes
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SUPPER CLUB PICK
My after-school snack was a sacred ritual. I sat on the carpet in my parents' bedroom at a low table, the television turned to "I Dream of Jeannie," and ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich cut into neat squares. I wasn't fussy about crusts. I just loved the sticky pairing of creamy peanut butter with syrupy golden sweetness drizzled from a honey bear in diagonals across the soft white bread. Nothing else--save for maybe apples and peanut butter in a pinch--could have made for as sweet an