2 pounds ripe pears (5 to 6 medium)
1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
3 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled

Peel the pears, then cut them into quarters. Use a small sharp knife to remove core and seeds. Slice pears into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place them in an 8-inch, square baking pan.

Sprinkle pears with 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cardamom and the lemon zest; toss to coat evenly.

Center a rack in oven and preheat it to 400 F.

In work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the walnuts, flour, the remaining sugar and cardamom and the salt. Pulse until walnuts are finely chopped, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Cut the butter into small pieces and add to food processor. Pulse until butter is cut into very small pieces, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit in baking pan.

Bake crisp for 25 to 30 minutes, or until topping is light golden. Remove pan from oven and transfer to a rack to cool. To serve, cut squares of crisp, scooping up fruit. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Crisp can be stored up to 2 days tightly covered with foil and refrigerated.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

— Recipe from "The Essential Baker," by Carole Bloom.