Enjoy this pear patchwork pie, then check out our pear tarte tatin, pear crumble, apple pie, treacle tart and more indulgent desserts.

Author Stuart Ovenden says "It’s impossible to forget a stargazy pie if you’ve ever seen one. Cornish in origin, it’s a traditional savoury dish of baked sardines, eggs and potatoes, complete with fish heads poking through the pastry to (supposedly) look up wistfully at the stars. Oddly enough, it’s the inspiration for this dessert but without the sardines of course. In my sweetened version, pears have the astronomical inclination – I love the way that the rhubarb dyes the plump base of each pear with a blush of pink."


  • 6 pears, peeled
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, cut in ½ lengthways
  • 400g rhubarb, cut into 4cm chunks
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 150g ready-made shortcrust pastry, see notes below
  • for dusting plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar


  • STEP 1

    Put the pears in a pan and cover with water. Stir in the caster sugar and vanilla then bring to a simmer. Let the pears bubble away for 10-15 minutes or until a knife just slips through the flesh. Remove the pears from the liquor (keep this for drizzling later) and put aside to cool.

  • STEP 2

    Once cooled, cut to level the base of each pear so that they stand upright. Arrange in the bottom of a deep 23cm-round pie dish, as equally spaced apart as possible. Toss the rhubarb in the golden caster sugar and spoon around the pears. Drizzle 1 tbsp of the pear-poaching liquor over the rhubarb.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Roll the pastry out on a flour-dusted worksurface and use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut irregular shaped but similar sized patches. Cover the rhubarb with the pastry shapes, arranging between the upright pears, and overlapping to seal the crust and create a patchwork effect.

  • STEP 4

    Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle over the demerara sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden – cover the pear stems with kitchen foil if you’re worried they’ll burn too much.

If you’d like to make your own pastry, check out our shortcrust recipe here.

Recipe extracted from The Orchard Cook by Stuart Ovenden (£25, Clearview Books).


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