Happy Pi Day! If you didn’t learn in math class, pi is the number representing the ratio of a circle’s circumfurence to its diameter. Pi’s value is 3.14 (when rounded to two decimal places) and that value never changes. I know people all over are celebrating in the streets and dancing around with pies to celebrate today. Just me? Oh. Okay, I admit that I didn’t go so far as to dance in the streets, with or without pie. I did take some time today to make a pie today, and I realized two things. One, I do not make pie often enough. Two, pear crumble pie is so good it doesn’t need to wait for a holiday.
This pie is very similar to the apple crumble pie I made with M and O, but because it’s filled with pears and not apples, the spices are a little different. The ginger and nutmeg compliment the pears very well. The pears don’t get as soft as apples do in a pie, so it isn’t necessary to stack the pear filling as high as you would for an apple pie. They will soften considerably, but will be far from mushy. When buying pears for this pie, look for pears that have only ripened slightly; you want pears that are very slightly softened but still quite firm. This pie crust recipe is quick to make, and the pears and crumble topping are very quick to prepare. I suggest having some aluminum foil handy when you bake this. If you find that your crumble topping or crust are browning too fast, tent the pie with aluminum foil and continue to bake the pie. I checked mine about twenty minutes in and found that the aluminum foil tent was needed, and it kept the whole pie from becoming a burnt mess.
Pear Crumble Pie
for the crust:
- 1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 Tbsp. very cold water
for the pie filling:
- 6 firm medium sized pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
for the crumble topping:
- 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 C. brown sugar
- 1/4 C. old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
To make the crust combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (this can also be made in a food processor fitted with the dough blade).
Mix briefly to combine the ingredients, then add in the butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse sand and all of the butter pieces are pea-sized or smaller.
Mix in the cold water on low speed just until the dough comes together.
Form the dough into a ball, then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a circle large enough to fill a 9 inch pie plate.
Place the dough into the pie plate and trim away the excess.
Put the crust in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the pie crust from the freezer and line it with a layer of aluminum foil, then fill with dried beans or rice (or pie weights if you have them).
Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and whatever you used as pie weights.
Return the crust to the oven and bake for 5 more minutes, then set aside and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
To make the pear filling, place the pear slices, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice and spices in a mixing bowl and toss to combine.
Pour the mixture evenly into the pie crust.
To make the crumble topping, put the flour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon into a bowl and stir to combine.
Using a pastry blender (or two forks), cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse meal.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the pear mixture.
Bake the pie for 45-55 minutes, until the pears are bubbling and softened (if the crust and crumble topping are browning too fast, tent the pie loosely with aluminum foil and continue to bake until the pears have softened).
Place the pie on a cooling rack and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Makes one 9-inch pie.
Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats