I was first introduced to this pie during my young mom stay- at- home with our kids stage. A dear friend had dropped by with this confection – for no reason, and it was still warm – fresh out of the oven.
Surely she was thinking I would share with my family but, this Pear Crumble Pie was love at first bite and I ended up eating the whole thing! It made a lasting impression, and quickly became one of my favorites. Here is the recipe – tweaked, without compromising on flavor. It’s refined sugar-free, dairy free with a gluten-free crust. If you prefer grain free just ditch the crust and make it a Pear Crisp. Guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser either way.
Pears are an unsung hero of fall and holiday desserts in that they offer a unique flavor, natural sweetness and are a softer fruit for baking when ripe. An added benefit to the ease of making this pie is that peeling isn’t necessary. In fact, I never peel them. Unlike apple peel, the outer skin melts in your mouth so they are hardly noticeable.
Lemon juice and zest are the secret ingredients that make the flavor sing in the filling. The almond meal crumb topping has layers of holiday spice complimenting the fruit filling. This was one of 4 pies recently featured in my Holiday Pie class and I have to say it was a favorite.
Begin by making the filling first and set it aside until the crust and topping are made. The lemon juice will keep the pears from turning color while they wait for assembly. Mix up the topping and set it aside while you make the crust. You can either make a favorite conventional crust, or a gluten free crust.
This gluten-free crust recipe is from Nourishing Meals Cookbook by Alissa Segersten.
I used Authentic Foods Superfine Brown Rice Flour and Superfine Sweet Rice Flour, purchased on amazon.com to create a flaky and non-gritty gluten free crust.
Once you’ve got your pie all assembled,
cover it for baking so the crust and topping don’t brown prematurely. Almond meal tends to brown quickly, so watch it carefully in the end when you remove the cover, allowing the topping to brown. It can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes for the filing to be bubbling and topping to brown. It depends on the size of the pie and your oven. Sometimes my crust will brown before the topping. If that is your experience just cover the edge of the crust with foil during the last 10-20 minutes. Let it set for an hour or so before serving and serve with coconut whipped cream or dairy whipped cream.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
gluten-free pie crust
1 cup superfine brown rice flour
1 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup organic palm shortening (or organic butter, or half and half of each)
8 – 10 tablespoons cold water
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/3 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 cups sliced Bartlett pears, skin on (about 3 1/2 pears)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the filling, toss sliced pears with coconut sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and arrowroot powder. Set aside.
Topping: combine the almond flour, salt and spices in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together oil and maple syrup. Stir wet ingredients into dry until well combined. Set aside.
Gluten-free crust: In a medium bowl toss together flours and salt. Add chilled palm oil or butter in small pieces and cut in thoroughly with a pastry blender until small crumbs form. Freeze the bowl of flour and shortening for about 10-15 minutes. Longer if you’re using butter 20 minutes. Add the water beginning with 8 tablespoons. Use a fork to mix the dough together until it forms a ball. Divide the dough in half, forming 2 balls. Roll each between 2 pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Line a pie plate with the bottom crust. Poke holes in bottom with a fork and trim edges.
You may want to roll the other piece of dough out too and follow above instructions. When done, wrap it and freeze it so you have another crust ready to go.
Fill unbaked pie shell with pear filling. Crumble topping over pears. Bake covered with foil for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10- 20 minutes or until topping is browned and filling bubbles. Serve plain or with dairy or coconut whipped cream. Yum!!