Aug 15, 2010

Pear-A-Thon Part I: Pear Pie

A cinnamon-sugar dusted crust surrounds a sweet, spiced pear filling.

The way I perceive it, the pear is the supporting actress of the fruit world. They are recognizable and well-liked, but often take second billing to more common fruit like an apple or an orange. It's not until you see one that you remember how good they are. This seems especially true when it comes to baking, desserts featuring pears are few and far between. [Am I way off base with all this?]

While visiting my parents this week, I get a phone call from S. [I am living with her and her husband J. for the remaining year of law school - fantastic friends]. She and husband J. visited his grandparents and were sent back with about 50 pears hand-picked from the grandparents' tree. Knowing of my recent cooking exploits, S. said I could do what I wanted with them and suggested I try a pie recipe created by J.'s grandmother.

This is my first time to make and try a pear pie. Typically, this is something I'd normally reserve for the fall [The cinnamon and nutmeg seem to classify the flavors that way.] Still, the abundance of pears were begging to be used.. Despite being at the crest of Summer, I'm certainly not opposed to a little Fall flavor. Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons and I'll take a piece of them any time I can.

Aside from peeling and slicing the pears, which consumes most of the prep time, this is made just like a traditional apple pie. You can certainly use your own crust, but I cheated and used a thawed pre-made. [My drive back from Dallas took much longer than expected and I had to cut a corner somewhere.] If you do make your own crust, be sure to make enough for a 2-crust pie. Like an apple pie, the pear slices are tossed in a sugar mix that includes nutmeg and cinnamon. A small amount of lemon juice and zest adds a tartness that the pears naturally lack.

Before I share the recipe, I have one confession to make. Looking at the photo above, you may be wondering why the ice cream is sitting atop a pile of pears instead of a nice pie slice. Well, in my hurry, I forgot to add the flour to the filling. [I think everyone is guilty of this at some point, but I had to roll my eyes since this was such a simple step, yet it made all the difference.] The dessert still tasted wonderful, but the filling was runny and cutting a clean slice wasn't going to happen. Don't forget the flour.

Pear Pie
  • Pastry for 9-inch 2-crust pie, homemade or pre-made
  • 6 c. pears, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1/2 t. powdered nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. powdered cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 2 t. lemon juice
  • 2 t. grated lemon zest
  • 1 T. butter
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Combine sugars, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle over the pears in a bowl, then lightly toss to coat.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pie crust, sprinkle with lemon juice and zest.
  4. Add dabs of butter over the pie and cover with second pie crust.
  5. Cut slits in the top crust, seal and trim the edges. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.
  6. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes.
  7. Cool at room temperature for at least one hour before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Fall is my favorite season too! I recently made a pear-ginger sorbet, and the combination was divine. Your pie looks delicious, runny filling and all!