This pear custard pie is heaven in a skillet. Think creamy custard interlaced with sweet slices of baked pears, all cooked in one single skillet. You can eat directly from it too, no one’s judging! Gluten-free and dairy-free.
Cast iron skillet love
I fell in love with cooking with a cast iron skillet many years ago, but it was only this year that I’ve really put my cast iron skillet to good use. At first I only used it for savory foods – chicken skillets, frying eggs, or making garlic naan.
But then I realized that the cast iron skillet is not just good for savory meals. In fact, I’ve found that it’s also perfect for making sweet treats and desserts like this deliciously good pear custard pie.
Super simple pear custard pie
I made this pear custard pie on a whim a few weeks back, simply because the CSA basket we’d ordered brought along a small bag of beautiful organic pears. These lovely pears sat on our kitchen counter for a few days after their arrival, and each day I would see them just begging to be eaten.
One afternoon, my husband Juan (who has a terribly sweet tooth) threw the ball into my court and asked if I could make a dessert with pears. While we love wine-poached pears, I didn’t exactly want to be spending hours laboring at the stove, nor did Juan want to wait hours to eat his dessert.
When I saw the cast iron skillet at the corner of our kitchen, I decided that I wanted to make a dessert of some sort in the skillet, and after a bit of internet research, I decided to go with this ridiculously easy and foolproof pear custard pie (adapted from Dinner at the Zoo) that is both gluten-free and dairy-free.
(Juan found out earlier this year that dairy causes him to react so we’ve been trying to cook dairy-free for the past few months. It’s honestly been challenging at times, but I always love a good challenge. And hey, it forces me to be more creative too!)
Firmer pears for better shape
I like to use firmer pears for this dessert to ensure that once they are baked and the custard fully cooked, the pears aren’t totally disintegrated. I find that the firmer the pear slices are before cooking, the better they keep their shape, which makes for a gorgeous presentation once the dessert is done.
To prepare the pears for the dessert, slice them thinly, making sure to remove the stems and any seeds that they might have.
Making the easiest custard
If you’ve never made custard before, don’t fret. This is about one the easiest custards you can ever make. Plus, it’s extremely forgiving with substitutions.
Simply whisk the melted coconut oil, beaten eggs, milk (here’s my recipe for 5-minute homemade cashew milk), sugar, and gluten-free flour together in a large bowl until you get a smooth and homogeneous batter. The batter will be pretty liquid, and that’s perfectly fine. It will firm up as it cooks in the oven later on.
Preparing the Mise en Place
Start off by arranging the pear slices in a few layers in the skillet. You should be able to fill up most of the skillet. Don’t worry about placing the slices perfectly. In my opinion, the more imperfectly the pear slices are arranged, the prettier it looks.
Next, pour the custard batter over the pears. It should probably fill up around 3/4 of the skillet (in height). The batter won’t exactly expand a lot, but you want to make sure that your skillet isn’t filled to the brim with batter (which might overflow as it cooks).
Now bake and be patient!
Because I tend to be naturally anxious and impatient (especially when it comes to cooking), I understand that it’s not always easy to be sit around patiently twiddling your thumbs as you wait for the pear custard pie to be ready.
But I often find that if I wash up the dishes that I’ve dirtied in preparing the mise en place and then catch up on a bit of news while waiting for the alarm to ring (I always sets an alarm on my phone when baking), time passes by pretty fast.
When the pie is ready, simply sprinkle some finely shredded unsweetened coconut on top (I find that this gives it extra texture and looks uncannily like powdered sugar, just without the extra sweetness!).
Time to dig in and enjoy!
Now that you’ve paid your dues and patiently waited for this heavenly pie to be ready, you deserve to enjoy your treat.
The great thing about this pear custard pie is that it’s best eaten warm, so you don’t have to wait for it to cool down before digging into this incredible mix of creamy custard and tender pear slices.
If you have guests and want to serve them in individual bowls or plates, you can scoop out the portions and serve individually. However, in our house, we like to eat it straight out of the pan, which retains the heat and keeps the pear custard pie warm as we eat it.
Whichever way you choose to enjoy this dessert, the one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that you’ll devour it. We pretty much ate it up all at once, so there definitely won’t be leftovers for sure!
If you enjoyed this recipe, you’ll also love these other desserts:
- Gluten-Free Mixed Berry Crisp
- Chocolate Coconut Cake (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
- Grain-Free Strawberry and Blueberry Crumble
- Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis
This pear custard pie is heaven in a skillet. Think creamy custard interlaced with sweet slices of baked pears. All cooked in one single skillet. You can eat directly from it too, no one’s judging! Gluten-free and dairy-free as well, so what’s not to love?
- 3 firm pears, sliced thinly and stems removed
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon finely shredded coconut, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with coconut oil.
- Arrange the pear slices to fill the cast iron skillet evenly.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, beaten eggs, almond milk, sugar, and gluten-free flour. Whisk well until you get a smooth, pale yellow batter (batter will be quick liquid).
- Pour the batter over the pear slices and bake for 45 minutes until the custard is golden and firm to the touch.
- Once the custard is ready, sprinkle the finely shredded coconut evenly over the custard.
- Serve custard warm.
Oil: I used coconut oil in this recipe to keep it dairy-free, but if you are not lactose-intolerant, you can swap out the coconut oil for same amount of melted butter.
Milk: In place of almond milk, you can also use other non-dairy milks such as my 5-minute homemade cashew milk or use dairy milk if you have no lactose intolerance.
Flour: In place of all-purpose gluten-free flour, you can also use either rice flour, corn starch, or tapioca starch in equal amounts.
Pears: If pears are not in season, you can also swap out the pears for apples. It’ll be just as delicious!
Cast Iron Skillet: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can also bake this in a glass baking dish or a ceramic casserole dish. It’ll taste just as good.
Adapted from: Dinner at the Zoo
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
Keywords: pear custard pie