This delicious, delicate pie is a sweet homage to my favorite fall fruit, pears. If you can find a mix of pears that are seasonally available in your area, all the better! Otherwise, choose the best baking pears you can find and slice them very thinly!
If you're worried about them being underripe, simply place them in a paper bag with another ripe fruit such as a banana or apple, and wait a couple days for them to ripen along! Your other alternative is to caramelize up to half of the pears called for in the recipe, and fold the raw ones in to the cooked. But if you want to take the simple route, follow the recipe as-is and you should have a lovely pear pie either way!
I like to use pecans to complement the pears in the crumble topping recipe, but feel free to sub any nut that you desire and that conforms with your dietary needs! Walnuts or hazelnuts would work just as easily, and the same principles apply to tossing, rough chopping, and cooling them before adding them to the crumble topping.
As well feel free to experiment with spicing up the crumble topping mixture, using any varieties of ground spices available you prefer! I love putting a dash of ginger and sometimes allspice in as well. It really enhances the fruit and makes the dish feel fall-friendly and hearty. Serve alongside tea or your favorite sparkling dessert wine!
For the filling, peel and slice pears in half, then use a melon baller to scoop out their cores. Using a paring knife, slice their stems out and remove, then slice the fruit into slivers 1/4″ thick. Toss with sugar, lemon juice, and salt, set aside. In a small bowl, mix flour and spices. Sprinkle the dry mixture evenly over the pears and toss to coat. Let sit to macerate until pie is baked.
For the crumble topping, toast your pecans in a low oven until aromatic– you don't want to take them too far or they will burn in the final bake. Let them cool and give them a rough chop, set aside.
Mix brown sugar, flour, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Drizzle in butter and stirring with a spatula, blend just until the flour mix is evenly coated and you’re able to create loose clumps. Fold in toasted pecans. Gently press together into medium sized clumps with your hands, and refrigerate until butter is chilled and crumble topping is firm before assembling onto pie filling when you are ready to bake.
Preheat your oven to 350F and place a baking rack in the bottom third of the oven. Prick the bottom of the chilled pie crust with a fork several times and place on a sheet tray with parchment paper.
Spread pear filling in evenly. Crumble pecan topping over generously, focusing on the middle and top of pie. Bake on a sheet pan in the bottom third of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden and pear juices are bubbling on the edges.
Let cool and serve sliced with whipped cream.