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.
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!
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.
As if that wasn’t enough, two days later, they still made pear pie. And it was delicious.
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.
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).
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 (or all-purpose) 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
a dash of cinnamon
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.