Turkey day is just around the corner - but as far as I’m considered, it’s the most exciting day of pie season! I’m probably well behind in pumping out the Thanksgiving content, but there’s a pie coming at you almost every day this week (and one day next week I think), just in case you need some last minute ideas or a wee switcharoo. I won’t tell anyone.
I wanted to have a bunch of ‘alternative’ recipes for Thanksgiving - there’s already an apple pie here on the site (it’s really good), and a bunch of other more traditional pies too, so I wanted to post a couple of fun riffs on classics, starting with this Pear Pie with a Ginger Caramel and a Spelt Crust!
This is basically just a riff on a pear and caramel pie, except that I infused the cream used in the caramel with some freshly grated ginger, which gives it the most beautiful flavour. Fresh ginger is more subtle than its ground up friend, and I love how the flavour comes through in the pie.
I recently got a grain mill from my friend Jase, who won it in an IG contest and very, very kindly gifted it to me, as he knew I was DYING for one! I’ve been using it a bunch, and finally got around to adding a little freshly milled grain into my pie crust, and there’s no looking back. Your flour doesn’t have to be freshly milled, but adding a little spelt flour into the dough (30% of the flour weight I replaced with spelt) adds the most amazing depth of flavour, and the dough still behaves like a dream. I just made a pie with a rye crust this morning, and I think i’m hooked.
Here’s to a week ish worth of pies - I hope you give this pear and caramel dude a try! It’s so good with a giant scoop of ice cream. x
A few wee tips:
- Adding freshly milled grains into my pie dough is new to me, and is an instant favourite method. It adds another depth of flavor to the crust, which is so, so delicious. I went with 30% per my friend Ruth’s recommendation. You may need to adjust the hydration a little in the dough - just have a play and see how you go.
- Give your pie dough an overnight rest if you can.
- If you want to leave out the ginger and just make this a pear and caramel pie, go ahead, it will be so good!
- Here is a recipe for ‘regular’ pie dough if you don’t want to add in the spelt. You should be able to get spelt flour from your local supermarket or farmer’s market, or online. I have a grain mill so I milled mine fresh!
- You want pears that are just ripe for this recipe. Too soft and they will end up mushy.
- I like using a wee tip that my friend Erin taught me to make the pie dough nice and smooth and easy to work with. I make the dough, shape it into two rectangles, rest it in the fridge wrapped for about an hour, then remove it and roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. I then give it a letter fold (as you would a letter), roll out to a rectangle, letter fold again, then roll out slightly, and shape into a disc. I then re-wrap it, and leave it to rest overnight. This makes the dough more homogenous without compromising the flaky texture that you want in the pie dough, and it makes it a total dream to work with. For me, it’s a game changer.
- I like to divide the pie dough into ⅓ and ⅔ - shape the smaller one into a disc as it will be your bottom crust, and shape the top into a rectangle so it’s the right shape when it comes to cutting out lattices.
- Give your caramel time to cool - I made mine the night before.
- I did a fancy lattice on the top which definitely isn’t necessary, but it looks super pretty. I used pie stamps to cut out the shapes for the edge of the pie - I have collected a whole bunch over the years - I have this set and this set of leaves, and then this set is where the flowers are from. I think I also have this set!
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A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!Print
Pear Pie with Ginger Caramel and Spelt Crust
- Yield: Makes one 9” pie 1x
Pear Pie with Ginger Caramel and Spelt Crust
Spelt Pie Dough
- 380g All-purpose Flour
- 160g Spelt Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Tbsp (13g) sugar
- 345g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup (240ml) cold water
- 1 cup ice
- 60g (¼ cup) Apple cider vinegar
- 180g heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 300g sugar
- 135g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp salt
- 1300g fresh pears (I used bosc), peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 35g all-purpose flour
- 80g raw or turbinado sugar
- pinch of salt
SPELT PIE DOUGH
- Place flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. Mix to combine. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
- Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about ½ to ¾ cup, but add slowly) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Divide the dough into two - I like to do a ⅓ to ⅔ split. Shape the smaller portion into a disc and the larger into a rectangle. If desired, roll out and perform letter folds after an hour of resting (see notes - I do this every time now and it makes such a difference). Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
- In a small saucepan, combine the cream and fresh ginger. Heat over low until warmed. Place the sugar in a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring constantly. The sugar will start to form clumps, then begin to melt. Cook until is it amber in colour, then remove from the heat and immediately add all of the butter. Be careful as the caramel will bubble rapidly. Once the butter is incorporated, add the cream and stir well. Stir in the salt, and pour into a glass jar. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate if making ahead of time, but bring back to room temperature before using.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately ⅛ inch (3mm) in thickness. Line a 9" pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and lattice.
- Roll out the second piece of dough (the rectangle) into a rough rectangle approximately ⅛ inch thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut strips for your lattice. If you would like to make a braid, roll a piece of pie dough into a long thin rectangle, cut thin strips, and braid. Place your strips and braids onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and store in the fridge until ready to use. Press together the scraps and re-roll, these are good for extra lattice strips or for using pie stamps to cut out for the border - freeze for 10 minutes or so before stamping out to help the stamps hold their shape.
- Place the sliced pears in a large bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, then add to the pears and toss well to combine. Transfer the filling to the lined pie dish a little at a time, packing the slices of pear in. Remember that it will bake down a little, so it is ok for the pie to seem a bit full.
- Pour over 200g of the ginger caramel - I put the pie directly onto the scale, and pour the caramel on there. Place it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes for it to settle in before adding the lattice.
- Arrange the strips of pie dough on the top of the pie, weaving into your desired lattice. If you are adding stamps, trim any overlapping pie dough and lattice strips so that they are flush with the edge of the pie dish, then glue on the stamps with a little egg wash. If you are crimping, trim the crust with a little overhang and then crimp as desired.
- Rest the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425°f/ 220°c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Brush the pie with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 425˚f / 220˚c for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to go golden. Reduce the temperature 375°f / 190°c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, ideally with a scoop of ice cream.
- Store leftovers wrapped in foil at room temperature and re-warm slightly when serving.
Is it ok to assemble the pie completely the day before and bake it the next day? We’re traveling for the holiday and I wanted it prepared (but not baked) while traveling so that I can pop it into the oven the day of Thanksgiving.
Hi! Hmmmm with this one it might get a bit soggy because of the caramel. I usually put it in the oven soon after assembly - if it sits before baking it would ideally need to be in the fridge so I'm not sure how that would work for travel! You could make all the pieces ahead of time though and just throw it together there? The caramel and pie dough can be made ahead!
Erin’s done it again with this recipe! Easy to follow and superb results! That ginger caramel sauce is deadly good!! My pears were super ripe so I tossed them in half the sugar and let them macerate and drain for a few hours before tossing them with the remaining sugar and the flour. I was a little over enthusiastic with the caramel sauce so it overflowed a bit before I put it in the oven, which just reminded me to put it on a baking tray while in the oven. I had lots of spillage, but it was expected and accounted for, so all was good in the end.
We ate is slightly warm with a scoop of ice cream. This is a great alternative to a more traditional apple pie.