in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You Can Never Have Too Many Pears

This is the kind of pie that people mention a few days later when they see you... a memorable food experience. An absolutely wonderful way to celebrate Pear season. Use a plain crust if you must, but know that the addition of whole wheat and ginger is not only healthy--they add depth, texture and a flavor kick, too.
Pear Pie with Citrus and Ginger
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup shortening (lard would work!)
3/4 cup cold water
Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles meal. Add 1/2 cup of the water and stir to moisten. Add remaining water just until dough forms a ball. Divide in half and roll each half into an 11" circle. Line a 9" pie plate with one half and reserve the other for top crust.
6-7 cups pear slices (quartered, cored, peeled, sliced horizontally)
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
1/2 of a large lemon
2 tangerines, clementines or mandarin oranges
1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar (depends on how sweet the pears are)
1/8 teaspoon salt
4-5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place pear slices in a large bowl. Add ginger, zest and juice from citrus. Toss to coat. In another dish, stir together sugar, salt and cornstarch. Sprinkle onto pears and toss to coat again. Slide fruit mixture into pie crust. Dot with butter. Place top crust onto pie, trim excess and crimp edges to seal. (Be sure to make some slits in the top crust.) Place pie plate onto a shallow sided baking sheet. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling clear juices. (You can cover the otter edge of crust with foil for the last 20 minutes to prevent over browning.) Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Hints: It is crucial to have just ripe pears--not too ripe and not too green--for the ultimate pear pie. However, I have found that greener or firmer pears work well too. Just don't use over ripe pears as they will be mushy. I like this pie by itself without any cream or ice cream but you may want to try it a la mode.

I first made this pie for a neighborhood pie party at the Bankheads. Each year, they would throw a party the Saturday before Thanksgiving and have everyone bring a pie because we all get too stuffed on Thanksgiving to enjoy the final course. They have moved on to a teaching opportunity in the mid-west but I think I will still make a special pie or two on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and remember.

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