There are the typical popular seasonal fall flavors – pumpkin galore, apple and cranberry. I think pears sometimes get the short end of the stick. Even though they are in their prime throughout fall and winter, pears are often passed over for the usual seasonal standbys. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I was inspired to make a pie featuring the humble pear because with all their juicy sweetness and a little added spice, they are anything but humble. The subtle flavor of the pears finally takes the starring role, and the crunchy oat and almond topping adds a nice finishing touch. This pie would surely be a welcome addition to any holiday spread.

Since pears can often be excessively juicy, I wondered a bit at how they would fare in a pie. I made sure to purchase pears that were still on the firm side, and it worked beautifully. The fruit was slightly softened and gave off just the right amount of juice in the final product. You can use whatever variety of pears you prefer. I used a blend of red and green D’Anjou and Barletts because that is what I had on hand.

Pear Crumble Pie
By Annie
Makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

1 9-inch pie crust, plus more for decorative accents (optional)

For filling:

6 firm medium-large pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 large egg white beaten with tablespoon water, for egg wash

For topping: 

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup old-fashioned oats

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3 tablespoons sliced almonds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line 9-inch pie plate with round of pie dough, trimming away excess. If desired, use cookie cutters to cut out additional shapes to edge pie crust. Set aside. Transfer to freezer and chill 20 minutes. Line pie shell with foil and fill with baking beads (dried beans or rice also work). Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and baking beads, and return pie crust to oven. Bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and set aside. Increase oven temperature to 400˚F.

To make filling, combine sliced pears, brown sugar, flour and spices in medium bowl. Add lemon juice. Toss gently until evenly combined. Pour mixture into partially baked pie shell in even layer. If using decorative accents, lightly brush edges of the exposed pie shell with egg wash. Place pie crust cut-outs around the circumference of the dough. Lightly brush the tops of the cut outs with additional egg wash.

To make crumble topping, combine flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon in bowl and stir to blend. Cut in butter using pastry blender (two forks or stand mixer work just as well), until mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse meal. Gently mix in sliced almonds. Sprinkle mixture over top of pear filling.

Bake pie for 45-55 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling and has softened. If pie crust edges or topping are browning too quickly, loosely tent with foil and continue baking until the filling is done to your liking. Transfer to wire rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

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