Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble

Apparently, making some kind of pear pie is becoming my new Thanksgiving tradition. My family always has so much food that I just try to fill in gaps or find something a little interesting to contribute.

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble baked

Last year I wanted a fruit dessert, since we had so much rich stuff. I made my healthy apple pear pie with streusel topping, which was exactly what we needed in the midst of all the sweets.

caramel pear pie oat crumble assembled

This year I didn’t really have anything specific in mind. Then, I ran across this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen and knew that I had to make it right away. While I don’t really get that excited about caramel, I absolutely LOVE pears and any kind of crumble topping.

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble slice

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble

What’s really magical about this pie happens while it bakes. What starts as a simple streusel topping—oats, sugar, spices, butter—turns into a golden melt-in-your-mouth crust when the caramel bubbles up and marries up with the streusel.

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble closeup

Seriously, it’s amazing. On the whole, the pie was just a TAD sweet for me. I prefer something mildly sweet but not too rich, but for a Thanksgiving treat it was great!

caramel pear pie oat crumble pears

So, you may discover that none of the pears you have on-hand (which are many and varied) are remotely ripe enough to eat. If this is the case, you’ll want to do two things to make sure your pie isn’t tough and tasteless. First, slice the pear pieces very thinly, and second, cook them before placing in the pie crust. This particular pie doesn’t require pre-cooking the fruit, but it will soften and sweeten poor underripe fruit up.

caramel pear pie oat crumble pears cooking

caramel pear pie oat crumble pears spices

If this is the case, slice your pears and dump them in a big skillet with a tablespoon or two of butter and the rest of the filling ingredients (spices, flour, vanilla, etc.). Saute on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the pears have a nice thick coating and are soft. Figure about 20 minutes or so for this, but you can be doing other things while just keeping an eye on this.

If that’s not the case and you’re judging us poor unprepared souls for not having ripe pears, then just toss the lemon juice, pear slices, and white sugar and allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Then add the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, salt, and vanilla extract. Toss until everything’s evenly coated, then set aside.

caramel pear pie oat crumble topping

caramel pear pie oat crumble topping2

For the topping, you’ll mix the butter, oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl using a pastry blender. Cube the butter and break it up with the pastry blender until it’s about pea-sized and distributed evenly. Keep it in the refrigerator until you’re actually pouring it on the pie.

caramel pear pie oat crumble caramel sugar

caramel pear pie oat crumble caramel sugar melting

To make the caramel, start by heating the heavy cream in the microwave (or in a small saucepan) until it’s warm (but not hot or boiling). Set it aside for now.

Pour the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar begins to melt around the edges. Using a silicon spatula or rubber scraper, begin to stir constantly until the sugar melts completely and turns a lightly golden brown. As you can see, mine was kind of crunchy and weird, but it turned out okay in the end. Once it’s melted, cook for an another 30 seconds or so until the sugar turns a golden brown color.

caramel pear pie oat crumble caramel sugar melted

Immediately remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter until it’s fully melted.

caramel pear pie oat crumble caramel cream

Once the butter has melted, pour in the warm heavy cream and then stir like crazy. The mixture will bubble up, which is normal—just keep stirring until it’s smooth and caramel-y. Set the caramel aside while you assemble the pie.  If it solidifies while you’re completing the other steps, place over very low heat and keep stirring until it becomes smooth.

caramel pear pie oat crumble pears in crust

caramel pear pie oat crumble pears in crust closeup

Pre-heat the oven to 425 F when you’re about 15-20 minutes from being ready. Roll out the pie dough and place it in a 9-inch pan, crimping the edges (or whatever you want to do). Then pour the pear filling mixture into the pie crust and press down so the mixture is tightly packed.

caramel pear pie oat crumble caramel poured

Drizzle the caramel all over the pie.

caramel pear pie oat crumble topping on pie

Top with the oat crumble.

caramel pear pie oat crumble topping on pie2

What’s gonna happen here is that, as it bakes, the caramel’s going to bubble up and become lovers with the butter and sugar of the topping to create this magical crust.

caramel pear pie oat crumble baked

Like so.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, but definitely check at 20 since ovens really do vary a lot. If you pre-cooked your pear filling then you might decrease this time a little. If the piecrust edges brown too quickly (mine did), put a foil cover over them. Or one of these, which is awesome—I don’t have one but my mom did and it’s awesome, will definitely be getting one soon!

After the initial 20-25 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the pears are tender when poked with a fork and the caramel has bubbled up into the streusel topping.

caramel pear pie oat crumble slices

Remove and allow to cool for at least 2-3 hours. If you cut into them right away, the pie will fall apart, so make sure you wait.

caramel pear pie oat crumble slices2

Mmmm, day-after-Thanksgiving pie!

Caramel Pear Pie with Oat Crumble

Caramel:

  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • Pinch of salt

Oat Crumble:

  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/3 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 4 to 7 Bosc pears (depending on size), cored & cut into very thin slices/pieces
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

You will also need one pie crust. You can buy it or make it. I use this one.

Note, I’ve listed the prep steps (i.e. topping, filling, etc.) in this order, but it is totally up to you—it all gets assembled at the end, so rearrange the main steps to fit your needs

Filling:  If your pears are very underripe (which mine were), you will probably want to cook up the pears with the spices and sugar to soften them up (that’s what I had to do), and also slice them particularly thin. If you go this route, dump all the sliced pears in a big skillet with a couple tablespoons of butter and the rest of the filling ingredients. Saute on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the pears have a nice thick coating and are soft.

Caramel:  To make the caramel, start by heating the heavy cream until warm in the microwave (or in a small saucepan); set it aside. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan placed over moderately high heat, pour in the sugar. Cook until the sugar begins to melt around the edges. Using a silicon spatula or rubber scraper, begin to stir until the sugar melts completely and turns a lightly golden brown. [Editor's note: mine was kind of crunchy, but it all turned out okay] Cook for an additional 30 seconds or so until the sugar turns a golden brown color. Immediately remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter. Once the butter has melted, pour in the warm heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up like crazy, but this is normal—just keep stirring until it’s smooth and caramel-y. If it stiffens up while you’re completing the other steps, place over very low heat and keep stirring until it becomes smooth. Set aside as well.

Topping:  In a medium bowl, mix the butter, oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt using a pastry blender. Break up the cubed butter until it’s about pea-sized and evenly distributed. Keep in the refrigerator until you’re actually pouring it on the pie.

Assembly:  Roll out the pie dough and set it into a 9-inch pan. Crimp the edges, or do whatever else you like. Keep in the freezer until  you’re ready to fill it.
Pre-heat the oven to 425 F when you’re about 15-20 minutes from being ready.

Pour the pear filling mixture into the pie crust and press down so the mixture is tightly packed. Then drizzle the caramel all over the pie. Top with the oat crumble.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking at 20 since ovens really do vary a lot (note, if you pre-cooked your pears then you might back off of this time a little). If the piecrust edges are browning too quickly, put a foil cover over them. Bring the heat down to 325 F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until the pears are tender when poked with a fork and the caramel has bubbled up into the streusel topping.

Remove and allow to cool for at least 2-3 hours.

Original recipe from A Cozy Kitchen

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  1. […] recipes within a couple weeks back in November where caramel was the star. The first was the caramel pear crumble pie I made for Thanksgiving, and the second was this fall-worthy […]

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