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By Ian Farrell

SAN FRANCISCO, 20 NOVEMBER 2010 — My Pear Ginger Crème Brulée Pie is a little different from the normal pumpkin, pecan and apple pies you see around at this time of year in the U.S. For this baking recipe, I like to use Bartlett pears.They hold their shape well and have a very aromatic flavor. They are delicious eaten out of hand and also are excellent when cooked. They are called Williams pears in England where they originated and were brought to North America in 1800 and renamed Bartlett pears. It is the most commonly grown variety of pear in most countries outside of Asia. The season is August to December. Bartlett pears are picked when light green and then ripen within ten days to a bright yellow color. If the pears are hard they can be poached in water, sugar and spices such as cinnamon or star anise to soften them. If yellow and soft they can be peeled and used directly in the pie.

Pear Ginger Crème Brulée Pie


8 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

5 ounces sugar

4 cups cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ginger powdered

2 ripe (or poached) Bartlett pears, diced into half inch pieces.

1 fully baked pie crust (recipe below)

1 tablespoon candied ginger chopped

1 additional Barlett Pear for garnish, if desired


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix half of the sugar with the powdered ginger. Add it to the cream in a pot and bring to a boil.

Mix yolks, eggs and remaining sugar together in a bowl.

Pour on cream mixture, whisking to combine.

Place pears in the bottom of the pie crust and pour in the mix to fill to the top. Place on a baking tray and bake in oven for 40-50 minutes.

Allow to cool.

Cover with a thin layer of sugar and caramelize with a propane torch.

Serve with a little whipped cream and sprinkle on the chopped candied ginger. An additional pear may be peeled, halved, poached and cooled for garnish slices.

Ian Farrell: Pear Ginger Crème Brulée Pie 
Photo: Ian Farrell

Flaky Pie Crust


1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water - very cold

12 ounces all purpose flour

4 ounces cake flour

1/2 pound butter - very cold  


Cut the butter into 1 inch cubes and keep in the freezer for about 10 minutes. The water should be kept in the freezer also for 10 minutes.

Place all the flour on the table in a rectangle shape and scatter the butter cubes on top.

Cover with a little flour so the rolling pin doesn’t stick and begin rolling until the butter flattens out into long thin strips. Using a bench scraper, scoop up the sides of the dough to return to the original size rectangle. Repeat the rolling and scraping 3-4 times.

Make a well in the center and pour nearly all of the water into the well. Using the bench scraper, scoop the sides of the dough into the center and mix together. Keep scraping and mixing until the dough is a shaggy mass. Add the remaining water if necessary. Return the dough to its original rectangle shape.

Roll out the dough to double its size and fold back together again. Do this two times and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Repeat the rolling and folding two more times until it’s a nice smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator on a baking sheet for 2 hours or over night.

When ready, roll the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center in all directions. If lining a pie dish the circle should be 4" larger than the bottom of the dish.

Using a rolling pin, transfer the dough to a 9 by 2 inch fluted pie dish and gently press it into place. If using a fluted pan, trim the top of the pie crust flush with the top of the pan. If you are lining a pie dish that isn’t fluted, trim the dough so you have a 1/2 inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the dough and crimp the edge. Chill for an hour or two, or over night. (Crusts can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month at this stage.)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prick the pie shell with a fork and line the shells with parchment paper or a coffee filter and fill with beans or rice. Bake for 35 minutes and then remove paper and beans and continue to bake until crispy and a nice golden brown color. The crust will not bake much further once the filling is poured in.


A native of Kilkenny, Ireland, Ian Farrell is Executive Pastry Chef at Oracle Corporation where he turns out a line of cakes, pastries and signature truffles for the software giant's campus cafés, French- style patisserie and executive dining rooms. Chef Farrell also offers classes throughout the year on baking and chocolate making.

Farrell Confections Website

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