Here is the perfect pie to adorn your holiday table, or any table for that matter. A vibrant variation of the classic apple pie, the spiced pears and rum-soaked cranberries in this dessert delight the senses. Another bonus? Your house will never smell better than when you have this pie in the oven, I’m sure all those Christmas-scented candles were designed after this dessert.
Pear and cranberry pie
- 1 recipe pie crust (see below)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups rum or bourbon
- 8-10 pears (Anjous and Bartletts are the best), peeled, cored and cut into 6 pieces each
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
Follow the instructions below for the pie crust. Roll out one of the disks to about a 12-inch round, transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Soak the cranberries in the rum or bourbon for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling: Mix together the pears with the sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drain the pears, collecting the juices into a small sauce pan. Add the butter to the pan and cook on medium heat. Allow the juices to boil for 5 minutes in order to create a thick syrup. Drain the cranberries and discard the liquor. Add the berries to the pears, then the syrup and mix well. Lastly, stir in the cornstarch. Remove the crust from the refrigerator, discard the plastic wrap, and fill with the pear mixture, heaping the filling in the center of the pie.
Roll out the second disk of dough and lay over pears; press along moistened rim to seal. Using kitchen shears, trim overhang to 1/2 inch. With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a thick rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around the rim of the pie plate. With thumb and index finger of one hand, gently press dough against knuckle of other hand; continue around pie. Place the finished pie in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (215°C). Brush the entire top of pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon additional sugar. With a sharp knife, cut 5 to 6 slits in top of pie, radiating from center; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet directly on the floor of the oven. Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 45-55 minute. If edges brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Let cool completely, before serving.
All the ingredients must be cold to avoid a tough crust. Chill the flour in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The butter pieces should be chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes before use.
- 2 cup plus 2 tablespoon (320 g) flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup (2 stick, 230 g) butter, chilled and cut into 1 cm pieces
- 4 to 7 tablespoons ice water
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
In a food processor with a metal blade, briefly pulse together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and quickly pulse until chunks are the size of peas.
Add vinegar and smallest amount ice water, and pulse briefly. Mixture will be powdery but should hold together when pinched. Add more water and pulse again if necessary.
Transfer to a plastic bag and briefly knead from outside of bag until mixture holds together. Divide dough evenly and form into two balls, wrap with plastic and flatten into disks. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (preferably overnight) before rolling out and baking.