Filled with sweet pears and a gooey caramel sauce, this simple pear pie is a perfect twist to the classic apple pie.
One of my favorite pies to enjoy during the holiday season is my Perfect Caramel Apple Pie. The sweet and tender filing contrasts with the buttery, flaky crust. Always wanting to try something new, I decided to swap apples for pears and have found a new favorite pie recipe.
The pear pie filling is sweet, but not mushy, and the simple caramel sauce adds extra flavor and helps hold everything together. You can always use a combination of apples and pears in this Caramel Pear Pie, getting the best of both pies. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this pear pie recipe is one to add to your list of Thanksgiving dessert recipes.
Making the crust
A perfect pie starts with a perfect crust. My favorite recipe to use is this all-butter Perfect Pie Crust. I like my crusts buttery, crisp and flaky, a perfect contrast to a soft and juicy filling. This is the recipe I use for most of my pies, and it never fails me.
Over the years, I’ve picked up a few secrets to ensure you have the flakiest crust possible. It’s absolutely essential that you use very cold ingredients when making the dough. I actually freeze my butter in small cubes before mixing it with the flour. The butter melts in the oven, and the water turns into steam and separates the crust into flaky layers while baking.
To keep the dough cold, in addition to freezing the butter you also need to chill the dough before rolling it out. If planning ahead, you can make the pie dough in advance and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Make sure to separate the dough into two discs, as you’ll need one for the bottom of the pie and a second for the top crust.
Rolling out the dough
Working with one disc at a time, keeping the second chilling in the refrigerator, roll out the dough on a floured surface. You may need to let it rest on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly. Roll into a 12-inch circle and place in a 9×2 inch pie pan. Trim the edges with a sharp knife, cover with plastic wrap, and place it back in the refrigerator.
The easiest way to transfer rolled pie dough onto a pan is by rolling the dough loosely around your rolling pin and unrolling it directly into the pan. This helps reduce any tearing of the dough while transferring it from the surface to the pie pan.
Roll out the second disc in the same way and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, covered with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator to cool.
Preparing the pears
Picking the perfect pear is a crucial step to a tender, yet not mushy, pear pie filling. The best pears for this pear pie recipe are ones that are slightly firm and not too soft to the touch. I prefer Anjou, Bartletts or Bosc pears, as they are readily available at the grocery store and don’t lose their shape after baking in the Caramel Pear Pie.
To prepare your pears, peel and cut them into ¼ inch thin slices. I like to use the same technique I use for apples, which is the easiest way to get equal sized slices to ensure an even texture. You can also just cut the peeled pears into cubes or chunks that are about ½ inch thick.
You will need between 6-9 pears for this pear pie filling; about 6 cups total of sliced fruit. Toss the pears with the lemon juice and mix in the remaining ingredients. The flour is there to help soak up some of the moisture from the pears while they bake. Set this aside while you prepare your caramel sauce for the pear pie.
Easy caramel filling
Sweet and sticky caramel makes everything better, adding a little something special to this pear pie recipe. To keep things easy, I use my quick and easy caramel sauce that can be made in one pot, in under 5 minutes.
Making a double-crust pear pie
Preheat your oven to 400ºF and place a lined baking sheet in the lower third of the oven. You’ll want your baking sheet to preheat along with the oven, as this helps the pear pie crust crisp right away so you don’t end up with a soggy bottom.
Add the cooled caramel to the pear mixture, tossing to combine. Spread pears, along with all of the caramel sauce, into an even layer onto the pie crust in the pan. You can either make a lattice pie with the second pie crust, using this method, or you can simply place it on top of the pears.
If doing the latter method, tuck any excess overhang pastry under the bottom crust and crimp the edges together using a fork, or your fingers. Make 4 slits in the center, venting the pie so steam can escape. This not only helps the filling thicken, but it also allows the top crust to settle as the pears shrink, preventing a large “pie gap” after baking.
If your crust has warmed up, chill the pie for 15 minutes before baking. Otherwise, coat the pie with an egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, reducing the heat to 350ºF and baking for an additional 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling through the slits. If you notice the edges are browning too quickly, place a pie crust shield or aluminum foil loosely over the edges.
The Caramel Pear Pie needs to cool for at least 4 hours before slicing, so the filling can set and juices will thicken up before you cut into it. The pear pie can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, but tastes best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
This simple pear pie is one of my favorite pies of the season. The gooey caramel pear pie filling contrasts the buttery, flaky crust for a mouthful of different textures. If you’re an apple pie lover, try out this pear pie recipe for Thanksgiving. Pears are the perfect pie filling, as they hold their shape and add just the right amount of sweetness without being too overwhelming. With a layer of sweet, sticky caramel, this Caramel Pear Pie is the perfect way to end a holiday dinner (or enjoy for breakfast the next morning).
More Delicious Pies
- 6 large or 9 medium pears , cut into ¼-inch slices (about 6 cups of sliced fruit)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup (35g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground ginger or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg , optional
- Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
- Egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water , for brushing the top crust
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 55g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) light or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Roll out the dough: Take one disc of dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Place the dough gently into a 9×2-inch pie pan; you can do this by flouring a rolling pan and rolling the dough loosely around it, then unrolling it into the pan. Brush away any excess flour on the surface. With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Roll out the other disc in the same fashion, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, toss together pears and lemon juice. Mix in flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger if using, and toss to combine. Set aside.
Make the Caramel Sauce: In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar and heavy cream, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has melted. Let simmer 2-3 more minutes to thicken slightly more. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla and salt. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the lower third of the oven.
Once caramel has cooled, add it to the pear mixture, and toss to combine. Spread pears with all of the sauce in an even layer onto pie crust. If you choose to make a lattice pie, this is how you do it. Otherwise, place the other crust (the one you put on the baking sheet) over the pears. Tuck any excess overhang pastry under the bottom crust, then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Make 4 slits in the center to let steam escape while baking. If you feel like the crust is soft at this point, chill the pie for 15 minutes before baking, otherwise bake right away. Brush the crust with a thin coating of egg wash.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F/180°C and continue baking 30-35 minutes longer until the crust is golden brown, and juices are bubbling through the slits. To prevent the edges from browning too quickly, I place a pie crust shield once they’re golden brown. If you don’t have one you can use aluminum foil to loosely cover the edges or the entire pie.
- Allow pie to cool for at least 4 hours before serving so that the filling can set. Store pie in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve warm or at room temperature.