Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie

Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie by @browneyedbaker ::

There’s not much more beautiful than a holiday dessert table adorned with an assortment of pies, am I right? While I love experimenting with some different types of desserts for the holidays (see: pumpkin gingerbread trifle), pies just feel so traditional and cozy. My personal favorite trio is the must-have pumpkin pie, a Dutch apple pie (mmm crumble topping!) and pecan, which is probably my very favorite pie in the whole wide world. Even though I have my preferred favorites, I can’t pass up new varieties when given the opportunity. I saw the recipe for this cranberry-ginger pear pie nearly a year ago, and the combination of flavors struck a chord with me. I thought of it recently and dug up the recipe; I’m so glad that I did! It’s so different, which makes for a wonderful surprise at the holiday table.

Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie by @browneyedbaker ::

Pears are one of my favorite fruits, but, to my own detriment, I haven’t made a habit of doing much baking with them. This pie was a fabulous change of pace; the flavor and texture of the pears is fantastic, the cranberries give it a slight tang and a gorgeous pink hue, and the three types of ginger really pack a punch. I particularly love the crystallized ginger mixed into the crumb topping; so much delicious zing!

Do you stick to traditional pies at Thanksgiving, or do you like to venture outside of the box? What are some of your favorites?

Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie by @browneyedbaker ::

I can’t wait to dig my fork into buttery, flaky crust next week!

One year ago: Turkey Tetrazzini
Two years ago: Turkey, Mushroom & Wild Rice Soup
Three years ago: Cranberry-Walnut Rolls
Four years ago: Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti

Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

This is a quintessential fall pie - pears, cranberries and three different types of ginger make for a fabulous dessert.


For the Crust:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:
3 pounds Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
8 ounces (2 cups) cranberries
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

For the Topping:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
β…› teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm


1. Make the Dough: Put the flour, sugar and salt in the processor bowl of a food processor and pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of water as you continue to pulse, adding more water a tablespoon at a time if necessary; stop pulsing when the dough just starts to come together. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. The dough can also be frozen for up to 2 months and thawed in the refrigerator.

2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, and gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan and against the sides. Leave the overhanging dough in place and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until completely chilled and firm.

3. Remove the dough-lined pie plate from the refrigerator and trim the overhanging dough to ½-inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Tuck the overhang under itself, making the folded edge flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the dough, then transfer the dough-lined plate to the freezer for 1 hour before using.

4. Make the Filling: In a large bowl, toss the pears with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave until the pears turn translucent and release their juices, 4 to 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Uncover and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

5. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Prepare the Topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, crystallized ginger, ground ginger and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture is completely moistened. Let cool completely, about 10 minutes.

7. Finish the Filling & Assemble the Pie: Combine the cranberries, remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, and fresh ginger in a food processor and pulse until the cranberries are roughly chopped, about 5 pulses. Drain the cooled pears and discard the liquid. Return the pears to the now-empty bowl and add the cranberry mixture, stirring to combine. Transfer the mixture to the chilled dough-lined pie plate. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the pear filling, breaking apart any large clumps.

8. Bake the Pie: Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the juices are bubbling and the topping is a deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely (about 4 hours), before serving. The pie can be stored, covered, at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Note: Frozen cranberries can be thawed and substituted for fresh cranberries.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


46 Responses to “Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie”

  1. Olivia at ohmy Olivia on November 21, 2013 at 12:24 am

    All my favourite flavours in one! This sounds delicious xo


  2. Becky @ LovetobeintheKitchen on November 21, 2013 at 1:00 am

    This pie looks amazing! I am loving cranberry lately and I love the flavor combinations in this pie.


  3. Erin | The Law Student's WIfe on November 21, 2013 at 1:02 am

    I am all up, in, and around this flavor combo! Pears just do not get enough love–thanks for reminding me to use them more! Also, I am in full support of the triple ginger factor you have rocking in this pie. You nailed it!


  4. Pieliekamais on November 21, 2013 at 2:16 am



  5. ThisBakerGirlBlogs on November 21, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Cranberry, ginger and pear – what a delicious trio! And mmm I love a good crumb topping. What a pie πŸ™‚


  6. Averie @ Averie Cooks on November 21, 2013 at 3:10 am

    You’ve been rocking out some amazing pies lately, Michelle! Wow! I hope you have appreciative friends and family πŸ™‚ The color on this filling is just stunning. It also makes me think of Easter and springtime for some reason. Can you tell I’m not into winter πŸ™‚ So beautiful. Pinned


  7. Ellen on November 21, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Such a pretty pie! I love the addition of ginger.


  8. Becca @ Crumbs on November 21, 2013 at 4:35 am

    The crumb topping looks so gorgeous! And the flavour combination must be so yummy


  9. Nicole on November 21, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Oh my goodness. this looks absolutely yummy


  10. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on November 21, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Just the perfect match of Thanksgiving flavours! Lovely!


  11. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on November 21, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Your pie looks just amazing! I love the crumble topping! And the center, oh baby! What great flavors!!!


  12. Jeanne (NanaBread) on November 21, 2013 at 8:08 am

    It’s beautiful, Michelle! I can’t get over that pretty pink hue. I’ve always been a fan of the cranberry + apple combo, but now I’m really, really sold. I love this!


  13. chefgodzilla on November 21, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Being retired from cheffing allows me to see websites like these and watch in amazement at how the ‘tradition’ envelope is being pushed to new heights with flavor combinations (such as this mouth-watering example) !
    Can’t wait to add this to the table next Thursday!!


    • Leilani on November 21st, 2013 at 11:56 am

      How long were you a chef and what was the most unique pie you made? I like solid classics but it is good for me to see these creative creations. πŸ™‚


  14. Marlene on November 21, 2013 at 8:27 am

    This pie looks pretty and I can imagine how good it tastes. I’m impressed at how little sugar is in the filling, which lets the natural tartness of the cranberries shine alongside the naturally sweet pears. Lovely!


  15. Marcie @ flavor the moments on November 21, 2013 at 9:53 am

    This pie looks lovely, Michelle! I’ve had a pie like this on my list to do for Thanksgiving because we made one at cooking school and it was delicious. BTW – it looks like you left the butter out of the list of ingredients for the topping (and titled it “for the filling). Great recipe.


    • Michelle on November 21st, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Marcie, Thanks for the catch and I apologize for the error. It should be 5 tablespoons of melted butter; I have updated the recipe above.


  16. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie on November 21, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I agree, a holiday dessert table is stunning, especially if this pie is involved!


  17. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on November 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

    So pretty! It almost looks like Rhubarb! I’ve never thought to pair cranberries and pears.


  18. Vicki @ WITK on November 21, 2013 at 10:28 am

    This pie is so beautiful! Looks like the perfect dessert to bring next Thursday!


  19. Gina on November 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Michelle, How much melted butter are we supposed to use for the topping?


    • Michelle on November 21st, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Gina, My apologies for the omission; it is 5 tablespoons. I have corrected the recipe above.


  20. Laura @ Laura's Baking Talent on November 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    What amazing food combinations. I bet this tastes great πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚


  21. Valerie on November 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    How much butter is needed for the topping?


    • Michelle on November 21st, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Valerie, 5 tablespoons. My apologies for the error, I have since corrected it above.


  22. Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate on November 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I love the pretty pink colour that the cranberries bleed into the filling. Gorgeous!


  23. Caitlin on November 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Hello! The crumb topping looks absolutely lovely, but I think you may have forgotten to include the amount of melted butter in the ingredients. I have been playing around with lots of different recipes from crumb/crisp toppings for pies and this one looks perfect. Why do you use melted butter instead of cold butter cut in? Have you ever tried shortening? Thanks for all your wonderful posts :).


    • Michelle on November 22nd, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Caitlin, My apologies about that, the recipe has now been corrected (it is 5 tablespoons). I have never used shortening in a crumb topping. The melted butter helps form a cohesive mass for the topping, that can be broken off into large crumbs, which I prefer over a flaky-like sprinkling of topping.


  24. Tracey on November 21, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    This is SO gorgeous, Michelle! I love using cranberries in pie. I did an apple cranberry one a few years ago (which may also have been a CI recipe, I can’t remember).


  25. Elaine Luo on November 22, 2013 at 4:16 am

    I love the water red color. May be I should try to make a a pie at home.


  26. Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania on November 22, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Your pie is just the perfect treat for the holidays! I have never made this kind of pie…just love that pink filling!!


  27. Dina on November 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

    this pie is a nice change for thanksgiving!


  28. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures on November 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    What a beautiful color!


  29. Hari Chandana on November 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Wowwww.. this pie is so gorgeous.. love the color.. awesome job πŸ˜€


  30. Amabar on November 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Just in time for the holidays! Thank you for the recipe


  31. GB on November 24, 2013 at 5:21 am

    This looks so lovely! I live in Switzerland, so we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but I should try this all the same!


  32. Kristin on November 25, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Made this for an early Thanksgiving at the in-laws. Turned out great. I was a little short on pears because I wasn’t in my own kitchen and had a short pie pan so I was worried about overflowing. Really yummy. Ginger flavor was strong but not overpowering. Will definitely add this to the rotation!


  33. Nathalie on November 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Definitely making this in addition to a pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. I’ll let you all know how it goes!


  34. Custom Cakes in Pune on November 26, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Oh my gosh! That looks amazing! Your photos are incredible.


  35. Sarah on November 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Made this last night to share with my coworkers today. It was kind of fussy to make with a lot of steps, but the results were worth it. I followed the recipe to the letter except for the addition of a little bit of KA pie enhancer. The addition of crystallized ginger in the topping is pure genius and I will definitely incorporate that in to future recipes. The pie is gorgeous as well with a bright reddish pink color and an unusual fruit combination. Thanks for the fabulous recipe. I’ll definitely make again!


  36. Laura Dembowski on November 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I love pecan pie too and lots of pies – can’t pick a favorite. This looks great! I tried to make pear pie once but it didn’t turn out. I’ll have to give this one a try.


  37. Sarah Rawlings on November 27, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I plan on making this pie tonight and have a few quick questions before I do.

    First, I’ve heard that dough really should be refrigerated overnight, rather than for a few hours. Do you find that 2-4 hours is sufficient?

    Second, can I make the pie the night before, or do you really recommending making it the day it will be eaten?

    Re: pre-baking vs. not pre-baking the crust. As you know, a lot of pie recipes – particulary fruit pies – call for pre-baking prior to adding the filling to avoid a soggy bottom crust. Is there a reason you don’t do this?

    Finally, butter vs. shortening. Can you explain why you use butter instead of vegetable shortening? Personal preference? Taste? Texture?

    Thank you! And Happy almost Thanksgiving!


    • Michelle on November 27th, 2013 at 11:32 pm

      Hi Sarah…

      1. The dough needs to be sufficiently chilled. I’ve found that a couple of hours in the fridge does that, but refrigerating overnight obviously won’t hurt.

      2. I would recommend baking it the day it is eaten, as the crumble topping gets a little soggy as it sits.

      3. This particular recipe didn’t call for blind baking the crust, so I rolled with it.

      4. I like the flavor of an all-butter crust better, but you could use whatever crust recipe you prefer.


      • Sarah Rawlings on December 3rd, 2013 at 12:59 pm

        Thank you so much! I’m sorry I didn’t acknowledge your response sooner. Anyway, I had already made the pie when I heard back from you and it turned out fan-freaking-tastic! I did make it the night before Thanksgiving, because I was anxious that I wouldn’t have enough time to finish it in the morning. Glad I didn’t wait, as it was a pretty involved process. I followed your recipe to a T, and it got rave reviews. The best compliment of all was that my 5 year old nephew loved it and gobbled it all up in a matter of few minutes! And since we all know that little kids are brutally honest, his high praise made me super happy. Everyone loved the buttery crust, which was definitely not soggy, and the flavor of the filling was the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I used underripe pears, which kept the whole thing from turning into mush, so it still had a bit of bite to it. Also, everyone remarked as to how much they liked the crystallized ginger in the crumb topping. I have shared the recipe and recommended it to friends and family (linking to your page, of course). Frankly speaking, it was the best pie out of the 4 served on Thanksgiving (if I do say so myself)! So thank you for an excellent recipe that truly delivered! I will definitely be making it again – perhaps for Christmas!


  38. Janet on December 6, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Made this for Thanksgiving. It’s definitely a new family favorite. Thanks for sharing.


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