Gluten Free Pear Bourbon Vanilla Slab Pie

Life is this big cycle of new emotions and new experiences and damn you think you’ve grown up and fallen in love and settled in and then BANG you fall out of comfy and into WHERE AM I WHAT IS THIS HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

In other words, you’ve never done all of the things. You’ve never felt all of the emotions. There is always more. More ready to wheedle into you and create a hairline fracture of feeling. 

I thought this while staring at a cluster of crunchy dried thistles, their purple tops seeming full and beautiful in a way I’d never noticed. I had just heard my dad was going in for emergency surgery for a potentially life-threatening condition. 

He’s fine now, by the way. And the surgery wasn’t as serious as we all thought it was going to be. 

Now, this pie. Because sometimes the universe grants you five pounds of over-ripe pears. And you accept the challenge.

Gluten Free Pear Bourbon Vanilla Slab Pie Recipe

Makes — One half-sheet sized pie


  • 1 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose gluten free flour

  • 1 1/3 cup almond meal

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 8 tsp solid coconut oil or ghee

  • 2/3 cup kefir (goat, cow and vegan all work)


  1. Preheat oven to 350'F. Line a surface with a large rectangle of parchment paper, to roll out. Oil a half-sheet baking pan with coconut oil.

  2. In a Cuisinart, pulse to combine cornmeal, gf flour, almond meal, and salt. Add solid coconut oil and combine 1 minute or until texture becomes crumbly. While blending, pour in yogurt. 

  3. Blend until dough begins to form a ball in the cusinart. The dough will be slightly wet, but shouldn't stick to your fingers.

  4. Form a large ball with the dough, and split in half, forming two smaller balls. Place first ball of dough on parchment paper. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper, and roll out to can always re-blend it with a bit more goat yogurt if the cracking is driving you nuts.) Carefully flip the dough into your pan, pressing it down gently. Fold edges under and press in. (If you got some holes in your dough when you flipped it, don't freak! Because it's gluten free you can take a pinch or so of dough and patch up any holes, pressing and flattening them out to seal. I actually had to press in a lot of my edges because my bottom crust was a bit dry.) Dot the bottom crust with holes all over using a fork.

  5. Bake 15 minutes. Remove, and set aside. 

  6. For the top crust, roll out just as you did with the bottom. Flip on top of your filling, pressing the crust down along the edges of the baking pan. Cut slashes in the top to allow steam to escape.

Pear Filling


  • 5 lbs ripe bartlett pears.

  • 3 oz bourbon 

  • 1 cup evaporated cane sugar

  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split & scraped 

  • 6 cups pure water + juice of 2 lemons.


  1. Fill a bowl half-way full with filtered water and lemon juice. 

  2. Peel, core, and slice pears thinly lengthwise, placing slices in your lemon-water as you go (this prevents browning). Place a medium-large stainless steel pot over medium heat. Add bourbon and pears and cook for ten minutes. Add sugar and vanilla, and cook over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the liquid cooks down (you'll still have about an inch of liquid at the bottom) and the sugar starts to bubble and caramelize.

  3. Cut off heat, and immediately pour your pears over your pre-cooked pie crust. Let cool 10 minutes. Top with the second pie crust and bake for 25 minutes.

  4. Enjoy! (And keep your spirits up!)