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1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter eight 6 to 8-ounce ramekins; set aside. For streusel mixture: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, almonds, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender, cut in 3 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
2. With the tip of a sharp knife, scrape seeds from inside of vanilla bean. Place in a small saucepan. Add the pod halves and 1/2 cup butter. Melt over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, without stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until butter becomes brown and fragrant. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, pears and pear brandy, if desired. Toss together until well mixed. Remove vanilla pods from butter and discard. Stir browned butter into the pear mixture.
4. Spoon pear mixture into prepared ramekins. Sprinkle with streusel mixture.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.