Pear-Cranberry Pie with Crumb Topping

When Melissa Murphy was a kid, she'd make a miniature pie of her own whenever her mother baked. "I would open the oven a hundred times to see if it was bubbling," she says. This recipe is heaven: the sliced pears are tossed with cranberries and lightly sweetened, then topped with a mountain of sweet and spicy gingersnap crumbs.

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  • Servings: MAKES ONE 9-INCH PIE

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  • Flaky Pie Dough
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 12 Gingersnaps, crushed (see Note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 pounds ripe Anjou pears (about 5)—peeled, halved, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

How to make this recipe

  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the Flaky Pie Dough to a 12-inch round and fit it into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1 inch, fold it under and crimp decoratively. Brush the rim with the egg wash and refrigerate the pieshell until chilled.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, gingersnap crumbs, ginger and salt. Stir in the melted butter until large crumbs form.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, toss the pears with the cranberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. In a small bowl, toss the sugar with the cornstarch, then stir the sugar into the fruit.

  4. Pour the fruit into the chilled pie shell. Pour the gingersnap crumbs onto the pie, carefully spreading them to the edge to cover the filling completely. Set the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling; cover the pie loosely with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Let cool before slicing.


If you aren't planning on making gingersnaps from scratch, you can use 4 ounces of spicy store-bought cookies instead.

Contributed By Photo © Monica Buck Published November 1999

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