Once upon a time, a girl decided to surprise her boyfriend for the weekend. It’s a classic story: she booked a plane ticket, got his friends involved and, hardest of all, fought to keep from spilling the beans beforehand. There were two months of wait time from idea to fruition, which meant lots of vague conversations and deceptive communication meant to throw him off along the way. But finally, early November came.

three pears for pear pie

She made phone plans with him for the day she was to arrive—or really, and maybe she should have seen this as a clue or as the thing we’d call foreshadowing in English class, he made phone plans with her, to cook something at the same time, from their separate cities. When she’d talked about her blog and how she’d been lacking inspiration for it (as those of you on Facebook know all about), he’d suggested this idea, and she’d said, Something with pears! Because they’ll be on sale! And she’d laughed to herself the whole time thinking, aha! he has no idea I’m coming!

making pear pie

That Saturday, after she’d landed at the airport and after she and her friend and ally had driven to his house, analyzing every option of how to actually work out the moment of surprise, they drove up to his door, ready for the sure shock that was to come, and surprise! The joke was on her—and at least it was on her friend, too—because are you ready for this? He had known the whole time, had accidentally read a Facebook message on her phone months before. So there he was, greeting her at the door. With flowers. And an entire meal. Of homemade ravioli, tomato sauce and braciole.

I know.

pear pie ready to bake

As if that wasn’t enough, two days later, they still made pear pie. And it was delicious.

streusel topping for pear pie

So to keep me from any further gushing about things other than food, let’s talk about that pear pie. Have you ever had a pie with pears? I hadn’t. Actually, I’d never even heard of it until last week, researching pear recipes. People say it’s a little like apple pie or, as in this version, like a Dutch apple pie because of the creamy custard and streusel topping.

pear pie

Since generally speaking I like pears more than apples and since there’s nothing quite like the creamy, sweet tang of a good custard, this pie is a brilliant combination.

We just used a simple store-bought pie crust (there are spelt ones in the frozen section at Whole Foods, if you’re looking for a good option), so all that was involved with this was peeling and slicing the pears (me) and mixing up ingredients (him).

piece of pear pie

It bakes for about an hour and fresh out of the oven, it’s hard to slice, so if you can wait, it’s better to let it cool and chill for a while before cutting a piece.

If you can’t wait, though—and hey, we’d get along well—then scoop it out and enjoy the creamy goodness right away.

Eating it with someone you like even more than the pie? That’s entirely optional.

Pear Custard Pie
Makes one nine-inch pie

For the pears, I peeled them and then sliced then into thin pieces, trying to make them relatively similar in size. Working this way, each pear equaled about a cup of sliced pieces, so we used a total of 4 pears.

1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons white spelt flour
4 cups peeled and thinly sliced pears (we used Bosc)
juice of half a lime
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup organic heavy cream
1 egg
a dash of cinnamon

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup white spelt flour
2 tablespoons sucanat
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a large bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and the two tablespoons of flour. Add peeled, sliced pears, and toss to coat. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime.

In a separate bowl, stir together the yogurt, vanilla, cream, egg, and a dash of cinnamon; add this to the pear mixture, and stir until evenly coated. Pour the whole mixture into the unbaked pie shell.

To make the topping: In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup flour and two tablespoons Sucanat. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the pie.

Bake pie for 10 minutes in the 400-degree preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until pears are tender.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    Do you think I can substitue demerara sugar for the sucanat? This pie looks amazing!

  2. Jenny

    “further gushing about things other than food” is so fun. Yahoo for gushable blessings. Sounds like you have a keeper…and the recipe sounds great, too. Now, if only I could find a tried and true GF pie crust recipe without actually having to make a thousand recipes, I’d be all set. :-)

  3. Jacqui

    So freaking cute.

  4. hootenannie

    Um. I love this story. You two are too precious. :)

  5. Alicia

    Haha omgosh, I did not see the end of that story coming! What a boyfriend! Can you please find me a boy that will bake all-natural pies and such with me? Seriously….

    Also, I just made an apple pie last week with the frozen spelt pie crusts from WF. Great minds think alike :)

  6. Whitney

    What a great story! Seriously just made me smile at the end of a sorta annoying day.

  7. the blissful baker

    sweet story! that pie looks delicious! i’m craving dessert right now, and i bet a slice of that pie would be sooo good!

  8. Susan

    That is so sweet. I’m so glad he kept it a secret too :)

  9. rachel

    happy happy post :) dating is so fun!!

  10. tiina { sparkling ink }

    I made apple walnut bread on Sunday with B. Baking together is one of our favorite things. Love the writing in this post. Especially the last line! And love the pics. And oh, the recipe too! It all sounds absolutely lovely. x

  11. Jeannie

    That’s such a sweet story! What an amazing boyfriend!
    And also, what an amazing pie! Looks fabulous.

  12. Niki

    I love that he knew! I think that when a guy is so sweet and romantic like that, it’s awesome! Kudos to him!
    So I have to ask about this frozen spelt crust… How is the texture? I’ve been wanting to try it, but just a tab afraid it wouldn’t be as flaky and yummy as the traditional

  13. MaryAnn

    Great story! It sounds like you all had fun – you planning the surprise & him planning the counter-surprise :-)
    I’m not super big on pears but this pie does sound intriguing…thanks for sharing the recipe!

  14. Kendra @ My First Kitchen

    Okay, can I say something totally silly? First, I didn’t know you had a bf. I can’t tell you how fun it is to know that. Even before I met you, I thought, “This girl is awesome. Why has a great guy not snagged her yet?” So you have indeed been snagged, notably by a guy who makes pie. I mean, seriously. It’s silly but so fun to get that news today.

  15. Rachel

    What an awesome story! Pie looks great too!

  16. Megan Gordon

    Sweet post. I recently heard of pear pie for the first time reading Nancie McDermott’s Southern Pies–I love your addition of custard and the crust looks perfect. Glad you had a little getaway…and blog inspiration always manages to creep back in somehow.

  17. Shannalee

    Lisa, Definitely!

    Jenny, I wonder if they make premade GF crusts too? They must! And yes, he is a keeper for sure. : )

    Jacqui, : )

    Hootenannie, Ha, well thank you!

    Alicia, Get out! I didn’t even know about those crusts until Tim told me. We should have a pie party! When do you want to come over? : )

    Whitney, I’m so glad!

    Blissful, I know. I could go for another piece right now, too.

    Susan, He’s so sneaky.

    Rachel, Ha!

    Tiina, oh you are so sweet. thank you for all your excitement. : )

    Jeannie, Amazing is the right word.

    Niki, that is a good question about the crust. Honestly, I felt like it was fine–healthier and easy and gets the job done, but it wasn’t like I looooved the crust, you know? It’s good in a pinch but homemade would be better.

    MaryAnn, We did have fun!

    Kendra, Oh gosh you are gracious. Thank you for your excitement and kindness and ability to make me laugh every time you say something. The truth is, I keep thinking he’s going to realize he got the short of the stick in this deal. Seriously. And even without the pie.

    Rachel, Thanks!

    Megan, the custard is seriously what MAKES it. Amazing. And you are right–you just gotta wait it out. I think that’s true of lots of things.

  18. Angharad

    What a sweet and awesome story! I love that he didn’t try and act surprised but just completely turned the surprise around on you with that meal. Brilliant.

  19. Alicia

    You know I’d be up for a pie party ANY time. Or any party that involves eating. We still need to go to Honey too! My schedules been crazy lately but maybe next week??

  20. Maddie

    I think my heart warmed ten degrees reading this post. You two really deserve each other — and I mean that in the best way possible. :)

  21. Anne Zimmerman

    I am baking a pear pie right now. Mine is sliced pears with a crumble topping. I wondered where I got the idea, but now I think it came from your twitter feed. Kind of wishing I had some custard for this pie, but crumbles will have to do.

  22. Shannalee

    Angharad, I love it, too.

    Alicia, Next week would be great! Any night but Monday! E-mail me!

    Maddie, : ) Thank you, sweet girl.

    Anne, Oh, I hope you’re enjoying a nice big slice of that pie by now, and I hope the crumbles wow you like this custard did me!

  23. Lisa

    haha! that’s adorable! and your pie looks delicious I was thinking of making an apple pie this week but I might go with this instead..

    oh and I agree with Alicia – someone find me a boy who will bake all natural things with me! ha! I’m glad you had a good trip!

  24. Shannalee

    Lisa, Do it! And thank you! : )

  25. Vicki

    What a sweet story! He should do a guest blog post about surprising your girlfriend/wife with a home cooked meal. :)

  26. Shannalee

    Ha, Vicki! I will pass that along. : )

  27. bodelou

    this is added to my thanksgiving menu! Hooray!

  28. Shannalee

    Bodelou, Yay! Hope you enjoy!

  29. heather @ chiknpastry

    how cute! a ruined surprise is totally fine if you’re surprised in the process, right??! love it.

    i made a pear-cranberry pie once and it was awesome. will have to try this custardy version though!

  30. Shannalee

    Heather, Exactly! And pear-cranberry sounds so good right now–very holiday-esque!

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  32. bodelou

    i have to say…it was so good on thanksgiving that i am cosidering making it again this week. homemade yogurt works GREAT in this recipe

  33. Shannalee

    Yeah! So glad you enjoyed it!

  34. Dana

    Yum! What an elegant looking pie!

  35. Shannalee

    Thanks, Dana!

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