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 softened, but not too much, 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.

Note: This recipe was developed as part of my ongoing contribution to the Go Bold with Butter blog.  Head over to see my posts as well as more great recipes from the other awesome bloggers involved with the project!

Ingredients

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

For the filling:
6 firm medium-large pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juice

For the topping:  
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup old-fashioned oats
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp. sliced almonds

1 large egg white beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash

Directions

  • 01

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

  • 02

    To make the filling, combine the sliced pears, brown sugar, flour, and spices in a medium bowl.  Add in the lemon juice.  Toss together gently until evenly combined.  Pour the mixture into the partially baked pie shell in an even layer.  If using decorative accents, lightly brush the 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.

  • 03

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

  • 04

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

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