Pear, bay leaf and toasted fennel crumble with white chocolate

Pear crumble with pools of melted white chocolate.
Pear crumble with pools of melted white chocolate. Photo: Katrina Meynink

If your crumble takes on too much colour, cover tightly with foil and remove for the last five minutes of baking.



1 tbsp fennel seeds

5 pears (about 1kg) peeled, cored and roughly chopped

scant ¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup water

2 fresh bay leaves


100g butter

½ cup plain flour

½ cup rolled oats

½ cup desiccated coconut

½ cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

½ tsp ground fennel seeds

¼ cup castor sugar

To serve

125g white chocolate, broken into chunks

dried rose petals (optional)

vanilla ice-cream (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 160C.

2. Toast fennel seeds in a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat, shaking often, until fragrant (about 1 to 2 minutes). Cool, then finely grind using a mortar and pestle. Return the ground fennel to the pan and add the remaining filling ingredients. Cook over low-medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove the bay leaves.

3. For the crumble, add the topping ingredients to a bowl and use your hands to combine until the mixture becomes coarse chunks.

4. Pour the pears into a 25cm diameter round baking dish and scatter over the topping mixture. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until pears are bubbling and the crumble topping has browned. Remove and gently push the white chocolate chunks into the pear mixture. Wait until the residual heat melts the chocolate, then scatter with dried rose petals, if using, and serve.

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