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Chilly weather and warm oatmeal recipes: they’re made for each other. Baked, overnight, in cookies, in pastries, using quick oats, rolled oats–however you serve it, I’ll be there, plate in hand.
I’ve always loved the warm nostalgia of the holidays. Every Saturday after Thanksgiving, we pile the kids into the car on a quest for the perfect Christmas tree, and pretty much every day after that, our tiny apartment is one big explosion of glitter, ribbon, paper snowflakes, and Nat King Cole on repeat.
The funny thing, though, is that my childhood was nothing like that. My parents were Korean immigrants, so we spent a ton of time at church for the holidays. Church wasn’t just a Sunday morning stop: it was our social hub. Parents could speak and laugh freely without bothering with broken English, and we kids shared that unspoken bond of awkward “I’m American, but not really, and I’m Korean, but not really” existence.
The holidays culminated on Christmas Eve, performing in the grand Christmas play–written entirely in Korean–in front of hot spotlights and grownups roaring with laughter at the lines we painstakingly recited but didn’t really understand. At the end of the night, Santa Harahbuhjee (grandpa) would show up and reward us with presents, and parents would exchange traditional gifts: hefty, pricey boxes of Asian pears.
We’d feast on those things for days. And now my kids gobble them up too. So this year, I figured it would be nice to pay homage to my, and now my children’s, fully American, fully Korean heritage. Asian pears work beautifully in crisps; they mellow a bit but still have some bite to them that contrasts nicely with the crumbly topping.
Old-fashioned oats is the way to go, and you can never go wrong with Quaker Oats. So off to my favorite store I went:
- 3-4 Asian pears, peeled and diced (best if purchased at an Asian market)
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
for the topping:
- 1 1/2 c rolled oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
- Preheat your oven to 350. Combine the diced Asian pears with lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to an 8×8 (2-quart) baking dish.
- Mix all the topping ingredients together, using a fork or your fingers to mash the butter until you get a crumbly texture. Sprinkle evenly over the Asian pear mixture.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.
*4. Shoo your hungry kids out of the kitchen to give the crisp time to cool.
*5. Sneak a bite when they’re not looking.
I LOVE how this turned out. The fruit-to-topping ratio is perfect, and sweet enough to stand on its own — though a scoop of ice cream couldn’t hurt! I opted to leave it out and enjoy it as is.
Do you have a go-to holiday recipe for the family? Feel free to share, or let me know if you try this one!