On the subject of pie vs. crumble, I must admit that I’m torn. Sometimes, I like a good and messy crumble with plenty of oats and brown sugar. Other times, I prefer the neat triangles and flaky crust of a pie. Well, I will no longer choose between the two. It’s like Sophie’s Choice. Ok, so maybe I exaggerate, but it really is a tough decision and I won’t make it anymore.
I’m taking Thanksgiving off this year to go on vacation (yay!), but I didn’t want to miss the big Thanksgiving meal we only have once a year. I’ve been making stuffing, roasted squash and carrot pumpkin soup all month to make up for it. Last weekend, I made dessert.
The questions was: Pie or crumble? Why not both? This pie has a ton of crumble top on it, which is much easier – and tastier – than a lattice top. I usually make apple, but since this year we’re going non-traditional, I used pears. All I can say is: Wow. See you later apples – I’m making pear pie from now on. The vanilla and cinnamon bring out the pear flavor, and the crumble top was thick, crunchy and a perfect contrast to the filling.
Served with a ball of vanilla ice cream, it was an amazing way to end just about any meal.
1 deep dish pie shell (I used frozen to save time. Feel free to use your own.)
5 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 a vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 325°.
Split your vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add them to a large bowl. Add the pears, flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Use your hands or a spoon to carefully combine the ingredients together, making sure the pears don’t break apart. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and butter. Using a pastry cutter or fork, combine the mixture until it resembles large crumbs.
Place the pie tin on a rimmed cookie sheet, then spoon the filling into the pie shell. Top with the crumble mixture. Your pie should be very tall and overflowing. The rimmed cookie sheet will catch any spillage.
Cover the exposed pie shell with thin strips of foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
Let cool for at least an hour before serving. Sprinkle with pecans.
Makes about 12 slices of pie.