Pear Pie

Pear Pie is unbelievably delicious and destined to become a new thanksgiving Tradition!

This Pear Pie is wonderfully simple to make and has been a family favorite for years!  It’s bursting with tender, juicy sweet pears enveloped in a rich and creamy 3-minute custard all topped with a simple, crunchy crumb topping. Once you taste this Pear Pie, you will never want to live without it!

This post is sponsored by Sugar In The Raw®.  All opinions are my own.

up close of pear pie recipe with custarad

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Pear Pie recipe

I am SO excited to bring you this Pear Pie recipe!  If you already love Pear Pie, you will love this version and if you’ve never had the pleasure of sinking your teeth into Pear Pie, I am ecstatic to introduce you!

I had never tasted the indulgent sweet, creamy pleasure that is Pear Pie until I joined the Sattley family.  My mother-in-law served up this family treasure our first Thanksgiving as a married couple (and every Thanksgiving since), and I instantly fell in love.  I understood at first bite why this was everyone’s favorite pie, and I knew it was going to become part of our own family tradition as well.  It belonged at every future Thanksgiving and Christmas – and every excuse in between.  

The Pear Pie recipe I share with you today is an adaptation of my mother-in-law’s recipe that she discovered in a local St. Louis newspaper in 1972.  The Pear Pie recipe begins with an unbaked pie shell.  You then toss thinly slice pears with lemon juice (to keep them from browning even after baked) and layer them in the pie shell.  You then whisk together a custard-like filling of eggs, Sugar In The Raw®, butter, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and pour it over the pears. 

This mixture seeps into the nooks and crannies of the pears and bakes up into a creamy custard-like consistency which essentially binds the pears together.  It’s rich, silky, creamy magic. 

Finally, the Pear Pie is topped with an easy crumb topping that can be whipped together in minutes in your food processor.  Part of it melts into the pears and the rest adds a satisfying contrasting crunch to the creamy pie.

In the end, you’re left with Pear Pie loaded with sweet, ripe pear flavor, enveloped in creamy custard and topped with crunchy delight – and a new family favorite Thanksgiving tradition!    

up close of pear pie with streusel topping with a few pieces missing

THE BEST PIE CRUST FOR PEAR PIE

This Pear Pie recipe calls for a traditional unbaked pie pastry shell because the pears and custard are quite wet.   A Graham cracker crust will become too soggy.  Instead, I suggest my Homemade Pie Crust recipe.  It is a perfected easy, no-fail recipe with step by step photos, tips and tricks that will deliver the perfect homemade pie crust even if you’ve never made pie crust before!  It’s beautifully buttery, tender, flaky and can be made up to 5 days ahead of time. 

Of course, you can also use your favorite pie crust recipe or a refrigerated, premade pie dough shell. 

The BEST Pears for Pie

What type of pears should I use?

The best pears for Pear Pie are ripe Bartlett’s or Anjou, pears.   This time around I used Bartlett pears and they were fantastic!  You will want to avoid Comice pears as they can become mushy.   

HOW CAN I TELL IF MY PEARS ARE RIPE?

We want to use pears that are ripe for maximum sweetness and flavor but not overly ripe or they will get mushy.   Ripe pears should yield slightly when pressed – much like an avocado or mango.  Please do not use hard, unripe pears or your pears won’t soften in the allotted baking time and won’t be as sweet or flavorful.

I will typically purchase my pears 5-7 days before I’m ready to make my Pear Pie and let them ripen on the counter so they are ready when I make the pie.  If your pears are ripening quicker than you would like, then place it in the refrigerator to delay the process. I also suggest purchasing a couple extra pears just in case some ripen quicker than others and develop soft spots.

HOW TO RIPEN PEARS QUICKLY?

If you find yourself ready to make this Pear Pie in a couple days but your pears are still rock hard, you can speed up the ripening process by placing them in a paper bag with an apple or banana at room temperature. 

How to slice pears for Pear Pie

When ready to make the Pear Pie, peel the pears, then slice them into ¼” slices.  You’ll then toss them in some lemon juice while you whip up the custard – do not skip this step! The lemon juice balances the sweetness of the pie and also prevents the pears from browning which keeps your Pear Pie looking beautiful after it’s sliced into.  

The pears soften in the baking process, emerging buttery tender as their juices mingle with the custard.  Their silky tender-crisp texture will make you swoon!

Ingredients for Pear Pie Custard

In addition to the pears, the custard is the other star of the show.  It is made with:

  • eggs: 2 medium eggs will do the trick.  They will whisk together more easily if at room temperature.
  • Sugar In The Raw®: is a  Turbinado sugar made from 100% natural, non-GMO sugar cane.  The natural molasses in the crystals produces a delicious taste, hearty texture and natural golden color.
  • butter:  use unsalted butter so we can control the salt.  The butter should be fully melted but slightly cooled so it doesn’t scramble the eggs.
  • flour:  I use all-purpose flour but other flours that will also thicken the custard will work. 
  • vanilla:  use high quality vanilla for the best flavor.
  • spices:  baking needs seasonings too!  Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt infuse the Pear Pie with flavor. 
two hand serving pear pie with streusel topping

Sugar in the Raw

I’ve made this Pear Pie with granulated sugar, brown sugar and Sugar In The Raw®, and it was hand’s down better with Sugar In The Raw! Like most things, it makes everything better!

If you aren’t familiar Sugar In The Raw®, the number one brand of Turbinado raw sugar, let me introduce you! Sugar In The Raw is made exclusively from natural sugarcane, grown in the tropics. The hearty, golden crystals are never bleached, so they keep the rich flavor and color of their natural molasses, essentially infusing everything they grace with a depth of flavor.

You can bake with Sugar In The Raw (1 to 1 substitute for any sugar), cook with it, sprinkle it over cereal, fruit, pancakes, waffles, French toast, or use as a topping on muffins, cookies, cakes, etc.

You can find Sugar In The Raw in most grocers, however, to find the closest retailer near you, visit the store locator page: www.intheraw.com/shop/find-a-store/.

You will love this addition to your pantry!

How to Make Pear Pie

Step 1:  Make Pie Shell

  • Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to mix (If mixing by hand, place ingredients in a large bowl). Add chilled shortening and cold butter. Pulse 8-10 times, until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs and most of the butter is the size of peas with a few larger pieces. (If mixing by hand, cut butter and shortening into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or 2 forks.)
showing how to make pie  crust by pulsing flour with butter and shortening
  • With the machine running, pour ¼ cup (NO MORE) chilled water down the feed tube then pulse just until the dough is moistened and sticks together. (If mixing by hand, sprinkle water over mixture and fold in using a rubber spatula.)
showing how to make pie  crust by pulsing with ice water
  • Take care to handle the dough as little as possible in this step and the following. Dump dough out onto prepared parchment paper and press together until it sticks together into a ball, adding up to one additional tablespoon water if dough will not come together.
  • Press dough into an even disc, about 8” around (it does not need to be perfect). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to 2 days (best if overnight).
showing how to make pie  crust by rolling dough into a disc
  • Roll dough out onto parchment paper, rolling from the center to the edges to form a 12” circle.
showing how to make pie  crust by rolling dough into a circle
  • Remove top piece of parchment. Place your dominant hand under the dough and hold the pie plate with your other hand on top.  Quickly flip the pie plate over in order to place the dough into the pie pan, parchment side up (see above photos). Before removing parchment, press dough evenly into pie pan. Remove parchment and smooth dough up the sides of pie pan. Cut off any overhanging dough around the edges.
showing how to make pie  crust by flipping dough into a pie plate
  • Flute the edges or create whatever edge design you prefer. Immediately cover the pie with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
showing how to make pie  crust by fluting edges

Step 2:  Toss Pears with Lemon Juice

  • Peel and slice pears ¼” thick.
  • Add pears to a large bowl.
  • Toss with lemon juice and let rest while you make the rest of the filling.
showing how to make Pear Pie by tossing pear slices with lemon juice

Step 3:  Make Custard

Add eggs to a medium bowl and lightly beat.  Mix in Sugar in the Raw, butter, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.  Set aside.

showing how to make Pear Pie by mixing in sugar to custard
showing how to make Pear Pie by whisking custard filling ingredients together
showing how to make Pear Pie by whisking custard until smooth

Step 4:  Layer Pie

  • Remove pears with a slotted spoon and arrange in the unbaked pie shell. You don’t have to use all of the pears if your shell becomes too full. You don’t have to worry about making a pretty design with the pears because it is going to be covered with the crumb topping.
  • Vigorously beat egg mixture by hand until frothy then evenly pour over pears.  Spread it around with a spatula so it slinks in between some of the pear slices. The rest of the custard sitting on top of the pie will melt in between the pears while it bakes.
showing how to make Pear Pie by layering pears on pie crust
showing how to make pear pie by pouring custard over pear slices

Step 5:  Bake Pear Pie

Bake Pear Pie at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. 

Step 6:  How to Make Streusel

You can either use a bowl or food processor to make the topping.

  • If using a bowl: add all of the topping ingredients to a large bowl (using chopped pecans) and mix with two forks or a pastry cutter. 
showing how to make Pear Pie by adding sugar topping
showing how to make Pear Pie by adding butter to topping
  • If using a food processor: add pecans to food processor and pulse 3 times.  Add all remaining ingredients except butter and pulse a couple times to combine.  Top with butter and pulse until it resembles small pebbles. 

Step 7:  Add topping and Bake again

  • After pie has been baking 15 minutes, carefully remove it from the oven and sprinkle evenly with topping.  
  • Return pie to the oven and bake an additional 45 minutes (for a total of 60 minutes). 
showing how to make Pear Pie by adding crumble topping

Step 8:  Cool Pear Pie

  • Allow the Pear Pie to rest for at least two hours before slicing into. This allows time for the custard to set.
top view of old fashioned pear pie recipe

Can I Make Pear Pie Ahead of time?

There are a few ways to make Pear Pie ahead of time:

  • Pie shell:  can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Custard:  can be whisked together, tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Make sure you beat it again before using.
  • Streusel: can be made three days ahead of time, transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Make entire pie:  this Pear Pie tastes fantastic the next day!  Bake pie according to directions, let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.  Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving. 

How do I store Pear Pie?

  • Pear Pie should be allowed to cool completely at room temperature. 
  • Once cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Refrigerated Pear Pie is good for 3-4 days.
showing how to garnish old fashioned pear pie recipe by adding sliced pears on top of streusel topping

Can I freeze Pear pie?

I do not suggest freezing Pear Pie as it contains both custard and fruit.  When custard and fruit thaw out, they tend to be watery and no longer the creamy Pear Pie we love.

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up close of a slice of simple pear pie with vanilla ice cream

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Pear Pie

This Pear Pie is wonderfully simple to make and has been a family favorite for years! It’s bursting with tender, juicy sweet pears enveloped in a rich and creamy 3-minute custard all topped with a simple, crunchy crumb topping. Once you taste this Pear Pie, you will never want to live without it!
Servings: 10 slices
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr

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Ingredients

Crust

Filling

  • 7 ripe Bartlett pears peeled, cored and sliced 1/4" thick
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar In The Raw®
  • 1/4 cup butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp EACH nutmeg, cloves, salt

Topping

  • 1/2 cup pecans optional
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar In The Raw®
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Instructions

  • Prepare pie crust according to directions.
  • Topping: Add pecans to food processor and pulse 3 times. Add all remaining ingredients except butter and pulse a couple times to combine. Top with butter and pulse until it resembles small pebbles. Alternatively, add all of the topping ingredients to a large bowl (using chopped pecans) and mix with two forks or a pastry cutter. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Add pears to a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice and let rest while you make the rest of the filling.
  • Add eggs to a medium bowl and lightly beat. Mix in all remaining filling ingredients. Set aside.
  • Remove pears with a slotted spoon and arrange in the unbaked pie shell (you don’t have to use all of them if the shell becomes too full). Vigorously beat by egg mixture by hand until frothy then evenly pour over pears. Spread it evenly with a spatula.
  • Bake pie at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, carefully remove pie from the oven and sprinkle evenly with topping. Return pie to the oven and bake an additional 45 minutes (for a total of 60 minutes)
  • Cover the top of pie with foil if needed during baking to prevent excessive browning or broil the pie at the end of baking (without moving oven position) for a more golden top (watch closely!).
  • Let Pear Pie cool for 2 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Notes

Make Ahead 

There are a few ways to make Pear Pie ahead of time:
  • Pie shell:  can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Custard:  can be whisked together, tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Make sure you beat it again before using.
  • Streusel: can be made three days ahead of time, transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Make entire pie:  this Pear Pie tastes fantastic the next day the topping just wont be quite as crunchy.   Bake pie according to directions, let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.  Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving. 

Storage 

  • Pear Pie should be allowed to cool completely at room temperature. 
  • Once cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Refrigerated Pear Pie is good for 3-4 days.

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20 Comments

  1. Britiney says

    I was surprised the topping is only pecans. We have a tree not allergy. Do you have suggestions for an alternate topping? Or should I just put a top crust on it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Britiney, it also has flour so it will work great without the pecans or you can substitute quick-cooking oats.

  2. Louise says

    If I use store-bought pastry (don’t judge me!) – do I use sweet short crust pastry, or puff pastry?
    The recipe looks awesome!

    • Jen says

      Hi Louise, no judgement here! You don’t want to use puff pastry but a pie crust. Enjoy!

  3. Shannon CM says

    This looks Outstanding!!!!
    I’ve just got to know….
    Would it be a wreck to make this without the crust?
    I get presentation would be less than Instagram worthy BUT I’m drooling on the screen with visions of the pear/ custard / topping.

    • Jen says

      Thanks Shannon! You will need some sort of crust to contain the filling when sliced. Enjoy!

  4. Mo says

    Where in the world are the measurements for the custard?

    • Jen says

      The measurements for the custard are included with the filling. Enjoy!

  5. James says

    This looks so good!!
    What wine should I pair with this?

    • Jen says

      Hi James, I wish I could help you but I don’t drink. I hope get to try the pie soon!

  6. B says

    How would you change the recipe if you wanted to use frozen pears? Thanks!

    • Jen says

      I have never used frozen pears in this recipe and I’m afraid the texture won’t be as pleasing. If you want to try, make sure to defrost the pears completely first and get rid of any excess water.

  7. Natalie says

    This pie was beautiful and turned out perfectly. Easy to make and full of flavour.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Natalie! I’m so happy you loved it!

  8. Vee Woo says

    This recipe will be my go to pear pie recipe from this point forward. First time using the raw sugar, my family enjoyed the pie, said it was absolutely the best. Thank you and God Bless.

    • Jen says

      YAY! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Vee, I love hearing this pear pie is a new favorite!

  9. Carol says

    This pie looks absolutely perfect. I enjoy making my apple pies and peach pies as well but have never come across a recipe containing eggs. So then I realize this must be a custard type of filling. Duhh. Went back and reread recipe. Of course it is a custard type of filling. So now I am really looking forward to it. I have abundance of pears and I was hoping to find recipe to use where I might freeze one, but I do need to make one to eat now so this will be it!

    • Jen says

      I’m so happy you stumbled upon this recipe Carol – the perfect use for all of your pears. I think you will LOVE the custard!

  10. Pam Liles says

    Can you use Clear Jel thickener for the flour? I see this used in Amish fruit pie recipes.

    • Jen says

      Hi Pam, I am sure it could be done but I haven’t personally tried it in this recipe so I can’t help with measurements. Good luck!

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