This Pear Pie filling has the perfect contrast of sweet pears and tart cranberries, all encased in a flaky and buttery pie shell. The beautiful lattice crust with maple leaf designs make this a spectacular centerpiece for all your holiday dinner parties.
If you’re looking for a new Thanksgivings pie recipe, look no further! Even though this is not your traditional Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie, this pear cranberry pie will quickly become your go-to holiday pie recipe because it is both beautiful and delicious, a must-have for any holiday celebration.
How to make Pear Pie with cranberries
The pear pie filling with cranberries
To prepare this easy pear cranberry pie filling, the cranberries need to be precooked into a sauce to reduce its tartness. Cooking the cranberries is necessary because fresh cranberries won’t have a chance to cook and blend with the sugar in the pie filling if they are kept whole and you’ll end up with a puckeringly tart pie.
- Dice the pears into bite-size cubes and add to a medium bowl with the cranberry sauce, sugar, salt, tapioca flour and apple pie spice mixture, orange juice and orange zest.
- Mix well before adding to the bottom pie crust.
If you have leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, you could use 1 cup to replace the fresh cranberries and ¼ cup of sugar. Both the jelly and the whole cranberry sauce should work but I would definitely recommend the whole cranberry sauce.
Putting this pear pie together
As with all my pies and tarts, I used my go-to pie crust in this recipe. The instructions are in the recipe card at the end of the post. But refer to the full tutorial if you want to see step-by-step photos.
- For this pie, you’ll want to trim the pie dough to fit exactly on the pie dish edge. Brush the bottom pie crust with beaten egg white before adding the pie filling. The protein in the egg white will keep the bottom crust from getting soggy when baked.
- Brush the edge with egg wash and then add the top lattice crust over the pie filling. 12 strips of dough, 6 placed horizontally and 6 placed vertically, arranged carefully into a lattice.
- Again, the excess is trimmed off for a clean edge.
- Arrange maple leaves around the edge if desired to add a finishing touch to this beautiful pie.
The maple leaves are made with excess dough from both the bottom and top crust. At least 25 to 30 leaves are needed to cover the edge completely. If you find that you don’t have enough dough to make the decoration, you may need an extra batch of pie dough.
Or you can skip the decoration altogether. If you don’t want to add maple leaves, you can simply crimp the edge or flute it to finish.
The edge of this pie can be burned easily in the oven as it contains exposed edges of the pie dough, both the bottom crust and the lattice strips, and all the maple leaves. It is necessary to use a pie crust shield to protect the edge from burning.
- Place the pie on a large baking sheet and wrap a thin strip of foil around the pie dish to cover just enough of the edge without covering the top of the pie.
Make sure you place the foil somewhat up-right as pictured to allow the top of the crust to brown evenly. This is to protect the very edge of this pie.
Other tips for the best pear pie recipe
What kind of pears are best for pies?
I used D’Anjou in this recipe. I like them for their firmness and their lovely mellow flavor. Bosc and Anjou varieties are great for baking because they hold their shape and texture. In a pinch, Bartletts will work as well, but make sure they are still firm.
How ripe should pears be for pie?
Use ripe but firm pears for this recipe, you don’t want to use super ripe pears in pies because they will release too much juice and fall apart when baked.
Can you freeze a pear pie?
Freezing an unbaked pie
You can freeze an unbaked pear pie in the pie dish if your pie dish is metal. You will need to bake it straight from frozen without thawing if frozen unbaked.
The glass and ceramic pie dish can crack if baked straight from frozen, but you don’t want to thaw an unbaked pie because the fruit filling will release all the water and become soggy.
You could try to remove the entire pie from the pie dish after it has been completely frozen. This can be difficult because the pie is now very heavy.
Freezing a baked pie
After your pie is baked and cooled completely, you can freeze it in the pie dish. You will need to thaw the pie completely before reheating it in the oven for serving. Reheat the pie at 350°F until the crust is crispy and the filling is no longer cold, about 20 minutes.
More Pear or Cranberry recipes
- Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding
- Orange Pear Smoothie Bowl
- Cranberry Orange Scones
- Pistachio Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
📖 Recipe card
2x Pie dough (ingredients for 1x)
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (198 g)
- 2 rounded tablespoon granulated sugar (35 g)
- ¼ rounded teaspoon kosher salt (3 g)
- 5 oz unsalted butter (141 g, cold & cubed)
- 3 tablespoon cold water (44 g)
- Extra flour for rolling
- 2 cup fresh cranberries (184 g)
- ¾ cup raw cane sugar (or granulated sugar, divided, 144 g)
- 5 large D’Anjou pear (6-7 cups diced)
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
- Zest of 1 orange
- ¼ cup tapioca flour (32 g)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar (or turbinado sugar, 12 g)
To make the crust
- Note that the ingredient list for the pie crust is for 1 crust. This pie recipe requires a bottom and a top crust. Double the ingredients but make the two crusts separately. A third batch may be required for the decoration if you don’t have enough excess dough but is optional.
- Add flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Add cubed cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and butter is about pea size. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to pull together.
- Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board, gather together and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge for an hour.
- Repeat the above two steps for the second pie crust and third if making.
- When the pie dough is ready, take one disk out of the fridge and roll into a circle about 2” larger than your pie dish. Use extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter and roller.
- Carefully place the dough over the pie dish, lightly press the dough into the bottom and side of the pie dish, let the excess dough hang over the side. Trim all the excess dough leaving just enough to cover the edge of the pie dish. Save the excess dough for later.
- Cover the pie dish with plastic wrap and store in the freezer.
- Take out the second disk of pie dough and roll out a rectangle about 12”x14”. Use a pizza wheel to cut into 12 strips about 1 3/16” wide by 12” long. I used the width of my wooden ruler for the dough strip width measurement. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and store in the refrigerator.
- Combine the excess dough from the first and the second pie disk, roll it out to thickness between ⅛” and ¼”. Use a maple leaf pie crust stamp and cut out as many leaves as you can. Place leaves on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until needed.
- You’ll need at least 25 - 30 maple leaves. If you don’t have enough, roll out the third disk of pie dough to stamp out more maple leaves.
To make the pie filling
- Wash cranberries and add them to a small saucepan with ¼ cup of sugar. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until a cranberry sauce forms. This will take 5 - 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Wash and peel the pears, cut into ¼” thick bite size pieces and add to a large bowl along with orange zest and juice.
- In a small bowl, add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, tapioca flour, salt and apple pie spice. Mix with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Add this along with the cranberry sauce to the large bowl with the pears and mix until evenly distributed.
Assemble pie and bake
- Move the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 425°F.
- In two small bowls, separate the egg white and the egg yolk. Take the pie dish out of the freezer and brush the bottom crust with beat egg white. The protein in egg white will prevent the crust from getting soggy when baked.
- Add the egg yolk back with the remaining egg white along with a tablespoon of water, beat together to make an egg wash.
- Pour the pear cranberry pie filling into the pie dish. Brush the edge with egg wash.
- Arrange the 12 strips of dough into a lattice top crust, trim the excess to the edge of the pie dish. The excess dough can be reshaped and rerolled to make more maple leaves for the decoration if desired.
- Take the frozen maple leaves out of the freezer and add them to the edge of the pie, brushing with egg wash as you go to ensure the leaves stick to the crust.
- Brush the leaves and the lattice crust with egg wash and sprinkle generously with raw or turbinado sugar.
- Cover the outer edge of the crust with thin strips of foil to prevent the edges from burning. Bake for 55-60 minutes until filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
- Check the top crust every 10 minutes during the last half hour to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it is getting too brown, tent the pie with foil loosely. If the edge is not getting brown, remove the crust shield during the last 10 minutes of baking.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. The filling will need time to set.
- Pre-cooking cranberries into a sauce will sweeten them and reduce their tartness. This also help with even distribution of the cranberry flavor throughout the pie filling.
- At least 25 - 30 maple leaves are needed to cover the edge of the pie completely.
- An extra batch of pie dough may be needed if you don’t have enough excess dough. You can make the extra dough, and freeze it if you don’t end up using it.
This post was originally published on 11/12/2018. It has been updated and republished on 11/14/2019.