I love pie. I love making it, I love eating it, and I love sharing it. This pie is a celebration of fall harvest and flavors. The filling is comprised of a pecan layer, and a simple spiced pear filling that is both refreshing and comforting. And the best part? The salted caramel topping sauce, of course! Don’t let the number of components deter you: this pie is quite simple to make, and will be perfect for you autumn gatherings.
A celebration of pears
Growing up, my godmother had a pear tree in the middle of her backyard that produced a LOT of fruit. She lives only a block away from my parents, so my childhood memories are dotted with recollections of her bringing over stacks of tupperware containers filled to the brim with pear sauce. I didn’t quite appreciate it then, but now that the tree has been gone for the better part of 15 years, I miss the amazing harvest she would have every year. Pears are quite a humble fruit, and a bit underrated in my opinion, but they’re so good for so many applications. They’re particularly wonderful to bake with: the trick is picking the right ones!
Generally speaking, it’s best to bake with firmer varieties of pears so that they hold their shape more in the oven and don’t go mushy. I used Starkrimson pears in this recipe, because their burgundy skin is just so gorgeous, but you could use other types such as Bosc, D’Anjou, or Bartletts. Just make sure that your fruit is ripe, but not squishy: a little bit of give under your fingers when squeezed is all you need.
Tips and tricks for making this pie
I’m not kidding when I say this pear and pecan pie with salted caramel sauce is actually really simple to make. The filling is a traditional combination of pears, spices, and some cornstarch to keep it from being too wet. The pecan layer? It’s just pecans that have been blitzed in the food processor! See? Easy Peasy.
That said, there are some tricks to handling pastry. If you’re new to making pie pastry, or just want a refresher, I recommend you check out my recipe for my favorite pie dough, which covers a lot of common questions or mistakes.
The caramel for this pie is served as a pouring sauce, so it’s best to keep it warm for optimal consistency when serving. Keep reading for my tips on making and serving the caramel sauce.
Tips for making salted caramel
Caramel always seems a bit scary to make, but it’s honestly one of my favorites. It comes together in a snap, and doesn’t require a candy thermometer or any fancy equipment. To make the salted caramel sauce, all you need is white granulated sugar, butter, heavy whipping cream, flaky salt, and a bit of patience.
The basic steps of making a caramel are these: melt the sugar in a large, heavy bottomed pot. When the sugar is melted, stir in the butter, and then the heavy cream. Cook for a minute or two, remove from heat, and stir in the flaky salt. That’s it!
The sugar will look clumpy at first, before it begins to melt. Just keep stirring! Once it starts melting, it will go quickly, so be sure not to burn it!
Caramel is very sensitive to temperature changes and moisture, so the only thing to take note of here is to be careful when adding the butter and heavy whipping cream. Use a pot that is big enough to accommodate a lot of expansion: the caramel will bubble and sputter a lot when the dairy is added to the melted sugar. Just take your time, keep stirring, and stand back if it starts sputtering. It will calm down as the temperatures even out.
The caramel will thicken and solidify as it cools. If it gets too firm to pour, simply microwave it at 30 second intervals until you get the right texture. Just be careful: caramel is, after all, predominantly sugar, so it gets VERY hot to the touch even after short bursts in the microwave.
What tools do I need?
Making this pear and pecan pie with caramel sauce doesn’t require much special equipment. You will need a food processor or blender to make the pecans (and also to make the pie dough: see my recipe here for the ways you can make the dough). I recommend using a heavy bottomed pot for the caramel, such as a dutch oven. You will need a 9″ or 10″ pie plate for the pie.
How to store this pie
This pie will keep well in the fridge, wrapped, for up to 1 week. The caramel will keep in the fridge, in a lidded container for up to 1 month. The caramel will solidify in the fridge, so you can microwave it at 30 second intervals to loosen it up when needed.
I hope you enjoy this pear and pecan pie with salted caramel sauce recipe! Be sure to tag me on instagram so I can see your bakes, and leave me a comment below! Your feedback helps other bakers who are giving this recipe a try, and I love hearing about your bakes!