This handed-down recipe has been made by at least three generations of Cagle women. Teresa Cagle inherited the recipe from her mother-in-law, Bernese Cagle, who inherited it from her mother-in-law, Estelle Cagle. Bernese Cagle, a community leader and founder of the Cherokee Fresh Market, passed away in June. So Teresa Cagle entered the pie in Bernese's memory in the Cherokee Fresh Market's first pie baking contest—and tied for first place.
Teresa and the Cagle ladies before her have all used the same deep-dish pie pan and pears from the same pear tree on the Cagle farm property in Hickory Flat. But you can use any baking dish. Old-fashioned sugar pears are the most authentic, but any pears, fresh or canned, will work.
2 to 2 1/2 cups fresh peeled and sliced pears
2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1. In a mixing bowl, combine pears with 1 cup sugar and let stand. Put the butter in a 2-quart baking pan and place in a 325-degree oven until melted. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar, the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Whisk together the milk and egg; slowly combine with dry ingredients to make a batter. Pour over the melted butter in the pie pan. Do NOT stir. Spoon the pears and juice over the batter. Do NOT stir. Return the pie pan to the 325-degree oven and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until nicely browned and pears are tender.
2. Serve hot or cold.