Pie, dish towel, rolling pin

Fall, to me, means pie. Apple, pear, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate, chocolate-pecan (with or without a few tots of bourbon)…I could go on. We recently moved to another home and inherited a pear tree. Last year, sadly most of our pears were too high up for me to harvest, but I did snag a few plump specimens, which squatted in a porcelain bowl on my kitchen counter while I figured out what to bake with them: a caramelized pear and ginger pie.

Pie with slice cut on plate

I knew I wanted to do something different; ginger came to mind. In my opinion, ginger is a vastly-underrated spice. Its complex heat can elevate a simple curry, and in this case, I wanted the ginger to temper the sweetness of the pears. I am obsessed with all things caramel (salted or otherwise), so its addition was a given. Thus a Caramelized Pear and Ginger Pie was born. 

I initially had planned to cook the pears in butter and sugar, hence the caramelization, but I believe that would’ve resulted in mushy fruit after being baked in the crust for almost an hour to brown the topping. So I simply tossed the fruit with the trappings of caramel: butter (melted) and brown sugar. I added a healthy dose of ginger and cinnamon for autumnal goodness. Although I adore a flaky, buttery crust, I am not one of those who lives for the exterior of a pie. I almost always opt for a crumb topping; however, a lattice has its merits. In this crumb topping went butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and more ginger, and next time I think I may toss in some finely chopped, crystallized ginger to seriously pump up the spice. 

One word of advice: there is only one way to make a crumb topping, and it’s with your hands. It’s imperative that the butter gets suitably squished (that’s obviously a technical term) with the sugar and other ingredients. Pastry cutters are fine, but there is no substitute for the dexterity of our fingers. Rub each cube of butter with your thumb and forefinger, and eventually you’ll have perfect clumps, just waiting to blanket your pear filling in sugary, crumbly goodness. The crumb topping is delicious, but I think the star of this dessert is the pockets of sweet caramel resulting from the marriage of butter and sugar with a little help from the bubbling juices of the pears. Hungry yet?

Caramelized Pear and Ginger Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword caramel pear pie, caramelized pear pie, pear crumble pie
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
Author Amanda

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 pie crust store-bought or homemade
  • 6 pears cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter melted

Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cold butter cut into cubes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out crust to 1/8th of an inch thickness and lay into a 9-inch pie pan, pressing into the pan. Trim excess and crimp as desired.
  2. Toss pears with brown sugar, melted butter and spices in a large bowl. Set aside while you make the topping.
  3. Put all topping ingredients in a small bowl and with your forefinger and thumb, squish the butter and rub it into the sugar and flour. Repeat until all the butter is incorporated and there is no flour or sugar mixture left in the bottom of the bowl. You should be able to squish the crumb topping together in your hand and it will hold its shape.
  4. Pour the fruit into the pie pan, scraping the juices into the crust. Scatter the topping over the fruit evenly. 

  5. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Tell us what you think!