It’s two months of A Common Table giveaways! From now until December, I’ll be sharing a recipe from the cookbook here and holding a giveaway of one of my favorite kitchen treasures used in the book every week on Instagram, and you’ll have a week to enter before the winner is announced, along with a new giveaway.
My earliest memories of Asian pears are from my grandparents’ kitchen in a concrete high-rise in bustling Shanghai, sitting around an old, worn table under fluorescent lights after a long flight from the United States. Asian pears are meant to be eaten peeled, and I can still see the ribbons of peels as they curled off my grandmother’s paring knife, seamless, swift, and unbroken, piling around the slices as she set them before us. (To my mother’s dismay, this is not a skill I have ever mastered.)
These little individual desserts tuck Asian pears into one of the very first recipes I ever earmarked for the cookbook, all the way back in our pre-baby, pre-LA, Brooklyn youngling days almost three years ago. It was the recipe that was actually submitted in the proposal, before the book was ever a book! They deserve that special place in the cookbook journey, because they’re that good–here, those late-night Asian pears are combined with the tea that followed every family dinner, then baked into a warm, buttery crumble, a dessert that I associate with cookouts in the South. The result is familiar yet excitingly new, heady with the floral mixture of jasmine and pear, but sweetly comforting from the buttery vanilla-scented crumble topping, with just a hint of ginger. It is my favorite kind of foray into blending the various influences from my childhood. (And they’re also just really cute.)
This week, I’m giving away two sets of these Staub mini cocottes and two signed copies of the book on Instagram! The cocottes are my favorite thing–they can be used for all sorts of things, from these crumbles to little mini shakshukas, baked pastas, mini cobblers, tiny hotdish, and more. The giveaway ends next Friday, November 9 at 12:00am.
- for the jasmine-soaked pears:
- 3 to 4 tablespoons loose-leaf jasmine tea or 3 or 4 jasmine tea bags (Ten Ren is a favorite)
- 1½ cups water
- 1 large Asian pear, peeled (see Notes)
- ¼ cup sugar
- for the crumble topping:
- 3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
- 3 tablespoons (about 25 grams) flour
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt, for serving
- Make the jasmine-soaked pears: Place the tea in a medium bowl. Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the tea. Let steep for about 10 minutes, until very strong.
- In the meantime, core and dice the pear. Add the diced pear and sugar to the tea. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then cover and let soak in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or up to overnight for best results. Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time, simmer the pear with the tea and sugar in a small pot over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the pear tastes strongly of jasmine tea, then let cool. This will result in a softer crumble, but it will do just fine.
- Make the crumble topping: While the pear is soaking, preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugars, ground ginger, and salt. Using your fingers, mix in the butter until the mixture forms clumps the size of peas and the consistency resembles wet sand.
- Remove the pear from the tea and divide between 2 and 4 oven- proof ramekins or mini cocottes, depending on the size of the contain- ers. Divide the crumble topping evenly among the ramekins. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the topping is browned and crisp and the filling is bubbling at the edges. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt.
Asian pears are fragrant and juicy, with a fresh crunch that sets them apart from Western pears. They’re also a bit grainier, and the high water content usually makes them less attractive for baking from fresh. But the sweet f loral quality is a perfect complement to jasmine tea, and when the pears are softened in tea overnight, they will release less water during baking and cook beautifully into the crumble. You can find Asian pears in almost all Asian supermarkets, especially Korean and Chinese ones, and you’ll even find a similar variety (sometimes called “apple pears”) in some mainstream grocery stores now and again. If you can’t track them down, though, Bosc or Bartlett pears will work just as well.