During my disappearance into the deep recesses of life (not unlike Batman) what little baking I did included pie. In fact it contained three pies: Pumpkin, Oatmeal and what you see here, pear pie. I've never tasted a pear pie before, I don't even think I have ever seen one. I suppose when it comes to pie, it's an oft overlooked fruit. I mean sandwiched between apples, blueberries, and cherry pies, I can see why people might overlook the pear. But pears are my second favourite fruit (next to apples), bosc pears specifically, and it was time to add them to my pie pantheon.
The nice thing about pies of this type is that they really are no brainers, the most difficult and time consuming part is the peeling of the pears. Especially since I'm awful at using paring knives. This time though, I finally figured out how to use a vegetable peeler to peel fruit. The key, apparently, is to peel towards you *eye-roll.*
Okay, I lied, the most difficult part for me is still rolling out the stupid pie crust. By the time I'm done it looks like I used a spiked rolling pin, and this time I had to do it twice.
One interesting note (to me) is that I made my pastry dough with butter flavoured shortening this time instead of lard, and everyone said it was the best crust yet. So either I'm getting better, or the shortening makes a difference. It's probably the shortening :).
The pie recipe is based on my current favourite apple pie recipe. I increased the spices a tad. Although I was slightly worried about overpowering the milder flavour of pears, I was also concerned that without the increase, the flavour would be too muted.
On that note, let me say that this is a day two pie. This is a cold pie. It's not like apple that can go both warm and cold. When this pie is warm, you just kind of wish that it was apple. The pears are a bit too soft, and the flavour isn't bold enough. That's not to say that it doesn't taste good, but I guess when you use the same spices as apple pie, you just kind of expect apple. Especially when the flavour of the "actual fruit" is so subtle. However, the next day the pie changed. The pears firmed up and their flavour was more pronounced. It was much better than the previous night, and I didn't long for apple pie afterwards. Okay, maybe a little, but I guess I always kind of long for apple pie :). Besides, any pie that makes me want to eat more pie, is a-okay in my book :).
Simple Pear Pie
Adapted from meCrust:
2 9" unbaked pie crusts -- My favourite pie crust or your own :).
5 medium to large bosc pears (or your favourite pears)
1/2 cup packed golden yellow/light brown sugar (110g)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch (15g)
Cinnamon Sugar Wash:
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
Have your pie crust ready in you pie plate and resting in the fridge. Roll out the top crust and have it resting in the fridge
Preheat oven to 425F
In a small bowl add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and whisk to combine.
Core and quarter pears. Slice each quarter in half. Then slice pears width wise into 3/4 inch pieces. Place pears in a large bowl and add sugar mixture. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add cornstarch to pears and mix everything together.
Dump pears into prepared pie crust and pour any remaining juice over top. Gently place top crust over apples and pinch edges together.
Mix milk, cinnamon, and sugar and brush over crust.
Pierce crust 5 or 6 times with a knife, to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425F and then reduce temperature to 350F and bake for 50 minutes or until filling begins to bubble.
Set to cool on rack for at least 5 hours, then refrigerate before eating.