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Mile-High Fresh Pear Pie

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Can you imagine going through life not liking apple pie???!! I know, right? I’ve always felt so “un-American” not liking one of our country’s favorite desserts! I love fresh apples! I love apples in things, like cakes and breads and I even add them to my Thanksgiving stuffing! So why don’t I like apple pie? It’s so not fair. If it were up to me, I’d just like everything. But unfortunately, we’re just not designed that way. So many, many years ago, I thought, hey, why not make a pear pie. I love cooked and baked pears, so that should work just fine. And just fine it DID! Wow, what a delicious, smooth and mellow, yet spicy and refreshing pie! I have tried making this with Anjou as well as Bosc pears, and have found that Bosc seem to bake better than the Anjou. You also must let the pears get very ripe first or you’ll be baking it for hours and your crust will get too done. And speaking of crust, all good pies start with a good, buttery, flaky homemade pie crust! Pie crust is so easy to make, and uses inexpensive ingredients, so there’s no excuse not to give it a shot. I’ll show you how to do a quickie easy one right in the food processor that’s pretty much no-fail. Even in the 95 degree heat with high humidity, I had VERY little trouble with it. Just needed a bit of extra flour than usual, but that’s too be expected when it feels like you just stepped into a blast furnace and got smacked in the face with a wet blanket. Ugh, it’s been hot and nasty here. And the weather has a lot to do with how much water and flour you need. But don’t worry, I’ll do the figuring for you!  To start, just dump your flour, sugar and salt into the food processor and give it a whirl to mix! 

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Next, measure out your butter, or use sticks. You need 8 oz. which is one cup or 2 sticks. Make sure you use real butter!! (*You can also use half butter and half lard. Oscar Mayer sells it in wrapped sticks just like butter and it works extremely well.) 

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Cut the butter up into small pieces, drop it in, and pulse until coarse crumbs. 

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Next, turn it on and drizzle the ice water in until it starts to pull away from the sides and form a ball. As soon as it does this STOP. You’ve added enough. 

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It will look like this…

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Divide into 2 balls. Press flat onto pieces of plastic wrap making edges nice and not cracked for easier rolling later. Wrap tightly and chill until firm. Don’t over-handle. You don’t want to melt the butter.

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After pastry is very cold, peel, core and slice your pears into a large bowl tossing them with lemon juice to prevent browning. Toss them into a large mixing bowl with the cornstarch mixed with spices, add vanilla, toss to coat and set aside. 

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Remove pastry discs from fridge and flour surface, as well as rolling pin and top of disc, with flour. Keep rolling pin floured and free from bits of dough. 

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Roll out from center outward always starting in the middle, turning dough a quarter of a turn now and then making sure it isn’t sticking. If it starts to stick, scrape and lift it up with a spatula to loosen and toss more flour underneath. Don’t turn it over though. And keep flouring your rolling pin and lightly flour top as needed. Roll out evenly keeping in a nice circle.

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To get it into your pie dish, you can roll it around your pin and unroll over the dish, or do like I do and just carefully fold it in half. If it tears don’t cry, moisten one edge of the tear and lightly press the other part of the tear over it to fix it. My philosophy is, if it looks too perfect, people will think you didn’t really make it. 😉 Then just cut away excess with a sharp knife, fill with pears, dot with butter, cover with top pastry, seal and flute edge. Re-roll scraps and cut into shapes to decorate if desired! To stick them on, moisten the backs with a little cold water. 

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After sealing and decorating, sprinkle top with cinnamon-sugar mix and poke a few holes in the top with a sharp knife to vent the steam while baking. 

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Pop into a preheated hot, 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, place a sheet of foil onto the rack below for good measure, and continue baking until crust is golden brown and pie starts to bubble. Mine takes about an hour. *If your oven runs hot, yours will get done sooner and you may need to cover the edge with a little foil if they start to get way too dark. I never have to with this pastry, though. And we’re done!!!

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And a peek inside!! I’d show you the cut piece topped with ice cream, but as always, the first piece never comes out perfect! I made a small mess of it, lol! But the hubs devoured it and said it was wonderful, so that’s all that counts! 😉

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If I can get the next piece out without wrecking it, I’ll be sure to add another photo! Hopefully, the 2 pieces for the neighbors will come out better! Hope you all have a fantastic day, and enjoy your weekend! 

 

MILE-HIGH FRESH PEAR PIE

Makes 1 – 9″ deep dish pie

 

For Buttery Pie Pastry:

2 1/2 cups flour, *use an extra 1/4 cup flour if it’s very humid

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbl. sugar

1/4 – 1/2 cup ice cold water, *1/4 cup is plenty if very humid

 

For Filling:

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, can sub light

4 Tbl. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbl. lemon juice, concentrate is fine

8 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced

3 Tbl. cold butter, cut up

cinnamon-sugar mix

(1 Tbl. or less milk if you want a shiny crust)

 

Directions:

For pastry: In food processor, place flour salt and sugar. Whirl to mix. Add cut up butter and pulse until large coarse crumbs. While running, drizzle in water from the top. Only add enough water until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. Divide into 2 flat rounds. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill or freeze until needed. (*To thaw, place in fridge overnight.) 

To make pie: In large mixing bowl, whisk first 6 ingredients to mix. In another large bowl, add peeled, sliced pears drizzling with lemon juice and tossing now and then to prevent browning. I use my 8-slice apple cutter/corer, then cut each section into halves or thirds depending on size and shape of pears. Stir pears into dry mixture. Stir in vanilla. Dump into pastry-lined pie plate, arrange pears slightly to fit nicely, and dot top evenly with pieces of butter. (About 8 pieces.) Cover with lattice top or top of your choice. Trim away excess, seal edge and flute. If doing a plain top, be sure to prick top with a fork or knife to vent the steam. Leave pastry plain, or brush lightly with a little cold water, or milk for a shiny crust, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mix. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, turn down oven to 350 and continue baking until crust is golden and pie is starting to bubble. About another hour. *Place a sheet of foil underneath when you turn the oven down to prevent spills on the bottom of your oven. Serve warmed with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream if desired. Serves 6-8. 

 

 

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