The pie crust can be the best part of a pie, with a light and flaky texture that adds crunch to a pie filling and helps hold everything together. Pie crust is also the bane of many pie-bakers’ existences and there are many people out there who simply avoid baking pies to avoid having to make a pie crust. This Crustless Ginger Pear Custard Pie is a delicious pie that doesn’t need a crust to be sliced and served just like a regular pie. This means that it is quick to put together, a little bit lighter than many traditional pies, and it is also something that both experienced pie bakers and those who are easily intimidated by pie crusts can make easily.
The pie starts with ripe pears, which need to be peeled and cut into small, thin slices. The pears are arranged in a pie dish and a ginger-spiked custard batter is poured over them. The batter is just thick enough that it will hold those pears in place and make the pie perfectly slice-able once it has been baked even though there isn’t a pastry crust beneath it.
I like to use fresh ginger in the custard for this pie, finely grating it with a microplane before adding it in to the custard mixture. Ground ginger can be substituted, but you may want to add a little extra if you are using it because fresh ginger root has a much sharper, spicier flavor to it. Whether you are using fresh or ground, ginger goes very well with the sweetness of the pears and brings great depth of flavor to this dessert. The custard itself isn’t too sweet, so the pears really pop against it and are the centerpiece of the pie.
This dish can be served warm, at room temperature or after it has been chilled in the refrigerator. I like to serve it as-is, especially if I want to keep it casual, but it is great when dusted with confectioners’ sugar or served with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream on the side to dress it up a bit.
Crustless Ginger Pear Custard Pie
2 large Bartlett pears
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.
Peel the pears and cut them in half. Remove their cores and cut them lengthwise into roughly 1/4-inch thick slices. Fan the slices out inside of the pie plate.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs, ginger, vanilla, salt and milk. Sift in the flour and whisk until batter is well combined and very smooth, with no lumps of flour.
Pour batter over the top of the pears.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until custard is set and the top is a light golden brown.
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.