Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter eight 6- to 8-ounce ramekins; set aside. For streusel mixture, in a small bowl combine the 1/2 cup flour, the almonds, the 1/4 cup brown sugar, the cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender, cut in the 3 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
With the tip of a sharp knife, scrape seeds from inside of vanilla bean. Place seeds in a small saucepan. Add the pod halves and the 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.
In a large bowl combine the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, the 1 tablespoon flour, the 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.
Spoon pear mixture into prepared ramekins. Sprinkle with streusel mixture.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
In a chilled mixing bowl combine whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl).