Pear Caramel Pie

I never know when something will pop up and inspire me. About this time last year I was in a grocery store line and spotted a Donna Hay Magazine with an awesome looking caramel cake on the front. Issue 62 Autumn.

The magazine was full of autumn recipes including a bunch with caramel. I picked up the magazine and was pleasantly surprised when I got home and read it. I knew there was some great stuff in there for fall entertaining.

Fast forward to our annual Christmas party and I knew I needed to make something from this issue. After debating back and forth it was decided that I would attempt the Caramel and Pear Pie with Pecan Crumble. I thought it was enough of a spectacular dessert for the party!

Pear Caramel Pie

For this recipe I used:

Filling:
1 Cup of Whipping Cream
2 Sticks of Cinnamon
1 Vanilla Bean – Split & Scraped
8 Pears – peeled and chopped
1/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Water
1 Tablespoon of White Vinegar

Pastry
1 2/3 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
180G Cold Unsalted Butter – cut into pieces
40 ml Iced Water
40 ml Chilled Vodka
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Topping
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
80 g Melted Butter
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

I started off with the pastry. I added the flour, sugar, and baking powder to a bowl along with the chilled butter.

Pear Caramel Pie – Cutting in the Butter for the Pastry

I used a pastry blender to mix the pastry until it was the texture of fine crumbs.  I then added the water, vodka, and vanilla and mix the pastry until it came together into a cohesive dough.

Pear Caramel Pie – Adding the Liquids

I transferred the dough to the counter and formed it into a ball. I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and let is rest in the fridge for about an hour.

Pear Caramel Pie – Pastry for the Fridge

Next I made the topping. I added all of the ingredients to a bowl and mixed it well. I set it aside for later.

Pear Caramel Pie – The Pecan Topping Mixture

Now it was time for the filling. I cup the 8 pears into small pieces.

Pear Caramel Pie – Cutting the Pears

I added the flour to the pears and mixed everything well.

Pear Caramel Pie – Adding the Flour

In a medium sauce pan I placed the cream, the cinnamon sticks, and the split and scraped vanilla bean and brought it to a boil. After the pot boiled I removed it from the heat and set it aside. After  a few minutes remove the vanilla pod and the cinnamon sticks before proceeding to the next step.

Pear Caramel Pie – The Cream Mixture

And this is where things got ugly (hence no pictures).  In another sauce pan I added the sugar, water, vinegar. I brought the pan to a boil and let it cook for 10 minutes or so. The mixture needed to be a deep caramel colour.

Following the recipe directions – which I knew would be problematic – I ended up burning my hand. Rats!

As I really made 2 of these Pies, to serve 15, the process should go as follows: After the sugar is a deep caramel colour, remove the pan from the heat.  Carefully add the cream mixture to the sugar. Stand back while doing this. The pot will steam and spit. After the cream has been added quickly whisk the mixture together.

Pour the caramel mixture over the pears.

Roll the pastry out to a large enough sheet to be able to fit into an 8 inch spring form pan.

Pear Caramel Pie – Rolling out the Pastry

I then worked on fitting the pastry into the 8″ Springform pan. This took a little bit of work, but eventually I succeeded.

Pear Caramel Pie – Fitting the Pastry

I took the extra precaution of chilling the pastry in the freezer for 10 minutes just to firm it up. Once the pastry was firm I added the pear mixture.

Pear Caramel Pie – Adding the final Pear Mixture

Then I topped the pear mixture with the crumble.

Pear Caramel Pie – Adding the Crumble

Before putting the  pie in the oven I loosely covered it with foil. Off to a 400˚ oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Then remove the foil and finish baking for another 20 minutes to brown the topping. Cool the the pie on a rack for at least 2 hours. Carefully remove the outer ring of the spring form pan and serve.

Pear Caramel Pie – After Cooling
Donna Hay – Issue 62
Donna Hay – Issue 62 Beauty Shot

Bakers Notes:

  • given this is a caramel pie I suspected it would be very sweet. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not. It was the perfect finish to a great dinner party!
  • I made a second version of this pie with gluten free flour substitutes and it turned out perfectly
  • as I obtained a pretty good burn from following directions I knew had a problem, I recommend everyone to use methods they know are right despite what a recipe may say
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