Pear and Pecan Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

October 30, 2022marissamakes
A pear and pecan pie styled with fresh pears, pumpkins, and autumn leaves

Prep time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Cook time: 65 minutes

Serves: One 9" pie

A pear and pecan pie styled with fresh pears, pumpkins, and autumn leaves

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!

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  • Prep time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 65 minutes
  • Total time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Serves: One 9" pie

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.

Ingredients

For the pie dough

  • 1 recipe my favorite pie dough, make 1.5x the recipe if you would like to make an extra decorative lattice
  • 1 egg, beaten with water for egg wash

For the pie filling

  • 2 cups toasted pecans, (150g)
  • 5 cups fresh pears, peeled and diced (about 5-6 pears)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar, (100g)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, (40g)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon

For the salted caramel sauce

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar, (200 g)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temp (120ml)
  • 1 tsp flakey sea salt

Method

Make the dough

  • 1)

    Make the dough according to the instructions here. If you would like extra dough for decorating, make 1.5x the recipe.

  • 2)

    Divide the dough into two flattened disks, and wrap with saran wrap (or three if making 1.5x the recipe). Chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight

  • 3)

    When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before rolling.

  • 4)

    Roll out the first disk of pie dough and place it in your pie pan. Roll out the second disk of pie dough, and cut into a lattice, or as desired. Refrigerate the pie base, lattice, and any dough decorations while you work on the filling and caramel sauce.

For the filling

  • 1)

    To make the pecan layer, pulse the toasted pecans in a food processor until the texture of fine sand. The mixture should clump together, but not be oily. Set aside.

  • 2)

    Combine the remaining filling ingredients in a large bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.

  • 3)

    Add the filling to the pie base, and decorate with the lattice and other designs as desired. Brush with the egg wash, and refrigerate the pie for 10 minutes.

  • 4)

    After the pie has chilled, bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 and continue baking for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving, topped generously with salted caramel sauce. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For the caramel

  • 1)

    While the pie is baking, prepare the caramel. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add the sugar, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fully melted. The sugar will clump up at first, and then melt quickly into an amber liquid.

  • 2)

    As soon as the sugar is entirely dissolved, carefully stir in the butter. The mixture will bubble, so take care not to get splashed. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and evenly combined: if it breaks, keep whisking vigorously until it comes back together.

  • 3)

    Stirring constantly, slowly add the heavy whipping cream. Again, it will bubble and rise up quite dramatically, so just keep stirring (this is why we picked a large pot!). Allow to boil undisturbed for 1 minute, and remove from heat.

  • 4)

    Stir in the flakey salt and allow to cool as the pie bakes. It will slightly thicken as it cools. Store leftover caramel in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Notes

This recipe has been adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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