If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’re probably a little surprised to see a recipe for Vegan Pecan Pear Crisp. After all, I’ve been allergic to tree nuts my entire life! But I have some crazy news! A few weeks ago, I found out I am no longer allergic to pecans! I still avoid all other tree nuts, so I have to be very careful about what pecans I use. Most of the time, all types of tree nuts are manufactured in the same facility. However, I found that Bergeron Pecans only manufactures pecans, so I feel safe eating their products. I’m so excited to keep trying new recipes!
Allergies and Anxiety
The test to find out if I’m still allergic is very anxiety provoking. I really didn’t get much sleep the night before. Still, my allergist felt that it was safe to do a food challenge because my blood tests showed that I was negative to pecans. However, testing for IgE antibodies is not always accurate. In the past, I was “negative” for cashew, only to fail the challenge. Based on my current pecan numbers, they said they would normally be 95% confident I would pass, but based on my history with cashew, they gave me 75%. Still, I was hopeful. It seemed like this appointment all fell into place in such a way that it seemed meant to be.
Falling Into Place
First, it’s very difficult to schedule food challenges because the only time my clinic does them is on Thursday mornings. I scheduled the appointment in February and didn’t get in until August! Then, the week of the appointment we were supposed to be in Montana and I would have had to cancel. Due to COVID, we ended up canceling the trip and did a more local family vacation instead. This allowed me to make it to the appointment when otherwise it would have been pushed out another six months.
The other issue is that prior to the test, I have to go a full week without any antihistamines. And this was right about the same time that pollen counts spiked in my area. My symptoms were SO BAD that I’m still shocked I made it the whole week. I was ready to give up, take the medicine, and reschedule, but once I made it halfway through the week, I figured I’d already suffered enough so I might as well make it worth something. Everything worked out just right so that I was able to do the challenge.
The way a food challenge works is that you start by eating a very tiny amount of the given allergen. Every fifteen minutes (assuming no symptoms), you get a slightly bigger dose. This goes on until you eat a full serving. So I started out with .1g of pecan–basically a crumb. Naturally my anxiety kicks in. Is my throat itchy because of the nut or because I haven’t had allergy medicine in a week? Is that a hive I feel on my face? Hmm, maybe my tongue feels a little funny? I guess I’m still breathing okay…
Every time I had a doubt, I had to cast it aside and tell myself it was all in my head. This is extremely common and many people “fail” challenges due to a percieved reaction even if it isn’t real. It’s amazing what the mind can convince us of. At the same time, when in doubt, it’s better to play it safe than to wait for a very serious, obvious reaction. But my approach was to let little things go because I knew I was just psyching myself out. Food challenges were a lot easier when I was only a few years old and had no real concept of what was really happening!
Dose by dose I kept eating more pecans. .2g, .5g, 1g, 2g, 5g, and 10g. I miraculously made it through all seven doses without having a reaction. After the last one, I had to wait an hour in case of a delayed reaction, but nothing happened! So my prayers were answered and for the first time in 15 years, I passed a food challenge–just in time for fall baking season! I’ll be honest, I still get a little nervous eating pecans, but the more I have, the more I realize they’re perfectly safe for me now.
Pecan Pear Crisp
With pears now in season, Vegan Pecan Pear Crisp seemed like the perfect way to try baking with nuts. It’s very simple to make, yet so rich in fall flavor.
The fruit filling consists of diced pears, sucanat, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. When the ingredients are tossed together, spread the mixture in an 8×8 baking dish.
For the topping, combine the remaining sugar, flour, and cinnamon with the oats, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and coconut oil. Spread the crumble over the pears and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.
To make the whipped cream, pour the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whipping attachment. Beat the cream on medium-high until it starts to stiffen. Add the vanilla and maple syrup and continue whipping until it reaches your desired fluffy consistency. It can also be made using a hand mixer following the same procedure.
When the Vegan Pecan Pear Crisp is finished baking, let it cool for at least ten minutes before serving with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!
Notes on Vegan Pecan Pear Crisp
If nut allergies are a concern for you, feel free to the omit the pecans. The recipe will still work, but the pecans do add some lovely fall flavor if you are able. You could also experiment with other nuts such as walnuts. Of course I haven’t tried it, but I’d love to hear how it turns out if you give it a try!
If you aren’t vegan, feel free to use butter in place of coconut oil in the topping. If using salted butter, omit the sea salt from the recipe. With coconut oil or unsalted butter, leave the salt as is.
I also included a recipe for maple whipped cream. If vegan, just omit this part or try making it with whipped coconut cream. I also haven’t tried this variation, so I can’t speak for how it will turn out, but it might be worth giving a shot!
When buying whipping cream, be sure to read the ingredients! A lot of brands add extra ingredients such as carrageenan, mono and diglycerides, and polysorbate 80. If possible, find heavy cream without the additives such as Organic Valley. Their regular pasteurized whipping cream only contains cream. The ultra-pasteurized does have gellan gum as a stabilizer since the shelf life is longer. I recommend the regular version, but thankfully neither have the carrageenan that many other brands do.
Here’s every thing you need to make Vegan Pecan Pear Crisp. Most of the ingredients can be found on Thrive Market and I also included a link for where I buy my pecans.
- Whole wheat flour
- Old-fashioned rolled oats
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Celtic sea salt
- Coconut oil
- Whipping cream
- Maple syrup
- Pure vanilla extract
Vegan Pecan Pear Crisp
- 5 cups pears unpeeled, chopped, cored
- ½ cup sucanat divided
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour divided
- ¾ tsp cinnamon divided
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup pecans chopped
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp Celtic sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
Maple Whipped Cream (omit if vegan)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the prepared pears, ¼ cup of sucanat, 2 tablespoons of flour, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Toss to combine the ingredients and transfer to an 8-inch ceramic baking dish.
- Using the same bowl, add the oats, remaining flour, remaining sugar, pecans, remaining cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt.
- Mix the dry ingredients before adding the melted coconut oil.
- Incorporate the oil and spread the crumble mixture over the pears in the baking dish.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top starts to get golden brown. If the pears were firm when raw, they should now be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Maple Whipped Cream (omit if vegan)
- While the crisp is cooling, pour the whipping cream and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Using the whipping attachment, whip the cream on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.
- Add the maple syrup and continue whipping until it regains its fluffy consistency.