Another Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and with that comes an annual challenge I like to bestow upon myself: to make a brand new pie. I guess technically every pie I make is “brand new”, unless it’s leftovers (which sounds much more appealing than “lightly used pie”), but what I mean is that it’s a recipe I’ve never made before or even eaten. I really, *really* love recipe development when it comes to pastry fillings, both sweet and savory, and this Maple Miso Pear Pie was a real treat to make because it checks off both ‘sweet’ and ‘savory’ boxes. The filling is made up of a caramel sauce that’s salted up with the addition of miso paste, and then ripe pears are added in and the pears continue to caramelize inside the pie filling with the actual caramel as it bakes, making for one helluva dessert.
Now, you might be wondering “…what’s miso paste?”, and I’m so glad you asked! It’s a thick paste (similar in texture to cookie dough) that’s made of salt and fermented soy beans. Sounds weird to put in a dessert, right? WRONG. It is one of those rare, magical ingredients that has such deep and profound layers of flavor that it makes pretty much everything you add it to taste infinitely better. And if you’re still hung up on the whole “fermented beans” bit, soy sauce is basically the juice skimmed off the top from that whole process, and we eat that pretty regularly, so do yourself a favor and slot it into that mental food group and don’t overthink it. I promise you that the future enjoyment of all things miso is worth the mental thimblerigging. Basically—just think of it as another form of salt 👍
As for the pie, I’ve always thought that pears got an unfair shake when it came to the whole “caramel apple” thing, so I married pears and caramel in the filling because they go together just as well. And I upped the autumnal flavors by swapping out a good bit of sugar with maple syrup in the caramel sauce instead, which added that warmth and coziness that only pure maple syrup can bring to a dish. The result of this maple miso pear pie shenanigans? A flavor-packed pie that shows off the delicious sweetness of ripe autumn pears and the complex and alluring combo of sweet maple and salty miso in caramel-form. And if you’re a bit intimidated by latticework on the pie crust, just read through this page and you’ll be all set. If you’re looking to add a flashy new pie to your holiday table, I’m going to point you in this direction, my friend. Enjoy!
Maple Miso Pear Pie
Maple Miso Pear Filling
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup heavy cream room temperature
- 3 tablespoons butter room temperature
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons light or white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 pounds pears peeled and cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg cold
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 6 to 7 tablespoons ice water
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon milk
Maple Miso Pear Filling
- In a small thick-bottomed saucepan mix together the water and the granulated sugar until well blended. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and continue boiling until the mixture turns a light caramel color, only stirring once every four minutes. This took me about eight minutes, but the speed will depend upon the heat of your stovetop.
- Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the maple syrup, heavy cream, and butter until incorporated. Be careful as the mixture will spit and hiss a bit. If the sugar begins to clump up when you’re stirring do not fret, just stir as best as you can for about 30 seconds and then put the pot back on the heat and bring it back to a boil again over medium-low heat. Once it is boiling again stir until the sugar chunk dissolves and the mixture is smooth. Once it smoothes out, stir it every two minutes and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Remove from the stovetop and stir in the miso paste until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the pear slices and sprinkle with the cinnamon and cardamom. Reduce heat to medium and cook the pears until they release their juices and half of the liquid evaporates from the pan, for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so (this helps keep the pie crust from getting soggy later when it bakes). The length of cooking time depends on how juicy the pears are. The juicer the pears, the more liquid, and the longer you'll need to cook them). Add the maple miso mixture, stir to combine, and simmer until thickened. Stir in the cornstarch and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set it aside. Whisk the egg with vinegar and 3 tablespoons of ice water and set aside. Follow instructions below, depending on if you want to make the crust by hand, or if you want to use a food processor.
MANUAL METHOD: Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cream of tartar in a large wide bowl. Using a box grater, grate the butter using the large hole setting of the grater above the bowl, stopping to stir with a fork and coat the butter bits in the flour mixture every 10 seconds or so. When all the butter is in, pinch the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles the texture of damp sand. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing it with a fork, until the dough just holds together when you squeeze a fistful of it in your hand.
FOOD PROCESSOR METHOD: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of the ice water. Set aside. Cut the butter into individual tablespoons and set aside. Place the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cream of tartar in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix together. Add the slices of butter and pulse until the butter is reduced to roughly pea-sized pieces. Run the machine while you add the egg mixture, letting it blend for 5 seconds after the liquid is added. Do NOT overmix. Add the remaining ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing as you add it, until the dough just holds together. It shouldn't be too wet and sticky, nor should it be super crumbly.
Divide the dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other (about 1/3 vs 2/3). Pat the smaller portion into a rough circle shape, cover it, and place it in the refrigerator. Roll out the larger quantity of dough until it is 1/8-inch thick and transfer it to the greased pie pan. Press the crust into the pan, trim off the excess leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the 1-inch overhang under the edge of the crust all the way around. Cover and place the pan in the refrigerator.
- Roll out the smaller quantity of dough until it is 1/8-inch thick, and use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut lattice strips out of the dough, and any decorate shapes you might want to incorporate, like leaf-shaped cookie cutters, etc. Cover and set aside for a moment.
Assembly & Baking
Now it's time to start assembling the pie (woohoo!) Take the pie pan out of the refrigerator and uncover it. Spread the maple miso pear filling in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the milk. Lightly brush the exposed crust on the pan with the egg wash. Now arrange the lattice strips on top of the pie. Add any other decorative cut-outs to the edges of the pie. Brush the exposed lattice and cut-outs with the egg wash, cover, and place in the freezer for 30 minutes (this will help keep the pie crust from shrinking when it bakes).
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet (this makes it easier to get the pan in and out of the oven without accidentally damaging the crust), and place it in the oven. Bake until the center crust is lightly golden, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, covering the edges with tin foil if needed to keep them from over-browning (the crust edges will brown faster than the center crust). Allow the pie to cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Wow, this looks delicious! Octave is on the verge of making his own miso, I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe for him!
Hello and I am definitely going to make this pear, miso pie! I am invited to a misfit Thanksgiving at a friend’s house, and this sounds deliciously Perfect… Thank you so much, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Your pie is beautiful! I am curious as to at what point you added the pear on the top? Before baking? Also, could you explain how you sliced it like that? Did you core it? Also, what particular type of pears did you use for the pie? Sorry for so many questions, but I would love to present this unique pie to guests. . I actually have made pear pie before and love it’s delicate flavour. Excited to add the miso!
Love the recipe and ingredients. Going to make it tonight and my family members are surely going to like this. https://stumbleguysonline.io
I like it
This is a great recipe, I made it 3 times over the holidays! Small note: on manual instructions for pie shell you forgot to write when to add the egg.
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