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pear pie

Pear Pie with Pistachio Crumb Topping

  • Author: adapted from Pie for Everyone
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 - 10 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Sweet pears mixed with fall spices topped with a nutty crumb


  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3 TBS maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 3 pounds pears*, cored and thinly sliced.
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS cornstarch
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest

Pie Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 TBS cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 23 TBS ice water (more if needed)

Pistachio Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBS fine corn meal
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBS all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup pistachio nuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt

powdered sugar for dusting if desired



Make Pie Crust

  • Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the butter and shortening
  • Add 3 TBS of the ice water. Mix with a fork. If you need to add more water to get the dough to come together do so a teaspoon at a time. Do not over mix.
  • Gather the mixture into a ball, remove to a surface lightly dusted with flour and knead a few times to form a cohesive dough.
  • Form into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Dust your surface with a little bit of flour and roll the dough out so that it will fit a 9″ pie dish
    Carefully remove the dough to the pie dish, trim and form a decorative edge.
  • Refrigerate for half an hour.
  • While the dough is cooling preheat the oven to 400°

Make the Pie Filling

  • Core and peel the pears and slice them thinly.
  • In a light colored or stainless steel saucepan melt the butter. After the butter melts and starts to bubble, heat for 5 to 10 minutes more until the butter browns. When the butter is sufficiently browned, small chunks of toasty brown caramelized milk solids will have formed and the rest of the butter will have a deep, golden brown hue**. Remove from the heat and whisk in the maple syrup, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves.
  • Add in the pears and stir to coat.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt, making sure the cornstarch is evenly distributed.
  • Pour the mixture over the pears and gently stir to coat.
  • Add the lemon juice and orange zest and stir.

Make the Crumb Topping

  • Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than a pea
  • Alternatively, mix by hand: add the dry ingredients to a bowl and stir. Add the butter and mix with your fingers, squeezing the butter between until it is dispersed.
  • Sprinkle the vanilla over the top and stir in.

Make the Pie and Bake:

  • Pour the pear mixture in the pie crust making sure it is evenly distributed
  • Evenly distibute the crumb topping over the top of the pears.
  • Place the pie plate on a baking sheet to catch any drippings
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 40 minutes. The pie juices should be bubbling up through the crumbs in some places.
  • Remove the pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
  • If desired dust with powdered sugar.
  • The pie will keep at room temperature for three days


*The original recipe called for 1 1/2 lbs of Asian pears. My 9″ pie plate needed 3 lbs of barletts to be filled sufficiently

**When making the browned butter pay attention! It can go from browned to burned in the blink of an eye

The crumb topping can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a year

Keywords: pie, crumb pie, pear pie