This is the most Canadian of pies. And just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving, for those of you who don’t like pumpkin pie. (Why don’t you like pumpkin pie? I don’t understand.) Okay, maybe butter tarts or straight up maple sugar pie are slightly more Canadian, but this is delightfully seasonal and tasty as all get out. Perfect for your Thanksgiving table.
This award-winning pie came first in our local pie contest last year. I was so looking forward to entering again with a new creation. No pie contests being held this year, obviously, but since it’s Thanksgiving, I’m going to focus on gratitude. Thankful for my family, for kind friends, and the comforts of our yearly turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes. Hoping you able to take comfort in the same blessings this year.
Most of the pear pie recipes I consulted before making this one used either maple syrup or maple sugar. I say double down like you’re at Timmy’s. I have maple flavouring, so I added that as well. And I serve it with a thimble of Sortilège on the side.
It used to be that you could only find blocks of hard maple sugar at farmer’s markets that you had to grate by hand. Local is always superior, but you can buy maple sugar online now or at Costco.
Use dark maple syrup if you can find it. I love cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and other spices with pears, but I’ve only used allspice (you could substitute cloves) here because it amplifies the maple flavour without distracting from it. Lemon juice has been replaced by Sortilège, bourbon or rum.
I always double the recipe so that I can use a variety of pears for a more complex flavour profile.
- Pie plate
- Tin foil
- Apple slicer
- 3 ½ lbs. firm Bosc pears, usually 7-9 large pears
- ¼ cup maple sugar (plus extra for decorating)
- ¼ cup dark maple syrup
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp allspice (or 1/8 tsp cloves)
- 1 tsp maple or vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 tsp maple liqueur, rum, or bourbon
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 double crust pie crust, rolled and rested
- Line pie plate with one half pie dough. Prick the bottom all over with a fork. Roll the other half flat and return both to the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 375° F (190°C) in a regular oven, or 350°F (180°C) in a convection oven.
- Mix sugar, syrup, salt, cornstarch, allspice, extract and liqueur (if using). Stir together until sugar and cornstarch dissolves.
- Section pears with a handheld apple slicer if you have one (see photo), slicing peels off and making each slice relatively even. Toss to coat after each pear to prevent oxidization.
- Put pear mixture in the chilled pie dough.
- Beat the egg with a tsp. of water to make an egg wash.
- Paint the edge of the dough with the egg wash, then add the other rolled out pie dough in top. Brush egg wash all over. Pinch the edges together.
- Cut vents with a knife. Sprinkle with more maple sugar on top. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Place or a cookie sheet to catch any spillage.
- Bake for 45 minutes covered. Remove foil, then bake for another 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown and the juices are bubbling up through the cracks.
- If you double the recipe, you can skip the tin foil. Just rotate the pies, one above and one below.
- For deep dish, add another 4 pears and 2 tbsp. maple sugar. Don’t add more liquid.
- Use pears that are just ripe or almost ripe. Very ripe or over-ripe pears become mushy when cooked.
- If a pear is grainy, don’t add it to your mix. Just toss it or eat it raw.
- For the best all-butter, double piecrust recipe, check Brave Tart’s recipe.