Caramel Pear Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble
Step out of your fall baking rut with this caramel pear pie with oatmeal cookie crumble. Ripe pears (and learn how to pick the best one!) and a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce all topped with a crunchy oatmeal topping reminiscent of a crumbled cookie. Move over, apple pie: there’s a new fall favorite in town.
We are once again coming in right under the wire for my Pie of the Month series. But good thing are worth the wait, and let me tell you, this caramel pear pie with oatmeal cookie crumble is worth the wait.
Let me repeat this, because it’s just so dang good. A pear pie. Drizzled with salted caramel sauce. Covered in an oatmeal cookie crumble. Yes, yes, and YES.
I feel like pears are a kind of underrepresented fruit. They’re plentiful in the fall, and yet all we seem to hear about are apples and pumpkin. Why no love for the pear? It’s time we change this and a caramel pear pie is the perfect place to start.
Pears behave fairly similar to apples in a pie, although they hold their shape and texture a little better. Apple pies are often completely soft and mushy; pear pies still have a little (delicious) bite to them. Flavor wise, they’re not to dissimilar, which is why caramel and cinnamon, flavors often associated with apples, translate so well into this pear pie.
But first, let’s talk a little about pears, and maybe why they’re not a super popular fruit choice.
How do Pears Ripen?
Pears are pretty unique — they’re one of the only fruits that are picked early and ripen off the tree. Unlike most fruits, a pear ripens from the inside-out, so by the time the outside of the pear is ripe and soft, the inside will rot in just a few days.
While you might be able to get away with this with your own personal backyard pear tree, you can see why this isn’t conducive to modern agriculture. Instead, pears are picked when they reach their maximum size, but we have to wait for them to ripen at home.
So how do we ripen our pears? It’s time for my favorite subject… some kitchen chemistry!
Like many other fruits, pears give off ethylene, a hydrocarbon gas that is naturally emitted during the ripening process. It’s actually a plant hormone, which helps to regulate the growth and development of the plant (and fruit). As pears release ethylene, the starch in the fruit converts to sugar and the texture changes from hard to softer, resulting in what we think of as ‘ripened’ fruit.
Want to encourage your pairs to ripen faster? Store them in a paper bag on the countertop. The paper bag will trap the ethylene gas, speeding up the ripening process.
How to Tell if a Pear is Ripe
We already discussed that pears ripen from the inside out, so if the outside is soft, the inside is super mushy. So how do you tell when your pear is perfect to eat?
Press gently near the stem, where the pear is smallest. If it has a little give, it’s ripe! Don’t squeeze the bulky bottom of the pear and expect any softness.
How to Make Caramel Pear Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble
Don’t let the long name of this pear scare you off — it’s actually pretty simple and quick to make, especially since there’s no top crust or lattice involved! There are three main components to this pear pie:
- Spiced Pears: To make the pears, peel and slice your pears into half-inch thick slices. Toss with some flour, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
- Homemade Salted Caramel: For this layer, we’re just going to whisk together a really quick, really easy homemade caramel sauce, and then pour it directly onto the pie. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes start to finish. Easy peasy.
- Oatmeal Cookie Crumble: This is basically like oatmeal cookie dough, minus the flour and eggs. And it is so, so good. It’s basically mixing together a few ingredients and sprinkling them on top of the pears.
The oatmeal cookie crumble on top was so good, I may never do a double crust, lattice crust, or regular crumb topping again. Just saying.
I like to serve this caramel pear pie with a big dollop of freshly whipped cream on top, but a scoop of vanilla (or cinnamon!) ice cream would be delicious. Or make a double batch of the caramel sauce and pour some extra on top.
Or, you know, just eat the whole thing straight out of the pie dish with a fork. I support this 100%.
More Fruit Pies:
Pie can be made ahead and frozen, either as a whole pie or individual slices. After baking and cooling, wrap the entire pie with plastic wrap, followed by two layers of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature. For an individual slice, freeze slice on a cookie sheet until fully frozen, then wrap in foil and store in an air-tight freezer bag. A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol
For the crust:
For the pie filling:
For the caramel sauce:
For the oatmeal cookie crumble:
Pie can be made ahead and frozen, either as a whole pie or individual slices. After baking and cooling, wrap the entire pie with plastic wrap, followed by two layers of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature. For an individual slice, freeze slice on a cookie sheet until fully frozen, then wrap in foil and store in an air-tight freezer bag.
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol