Double-Crust Winter Pear Pie
by Susie Middleton
- 2 3⁄4 cup (12 1⁄2 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 tsp. table salt
- 1⁄2 lb. (16 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 2 1⁄4 to 2 1⁄2 lbs. ripe Comice pears (about 4 to 5)
- 1⁄2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons pear brandy (such as Poire William or Belle de Brillet) or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. minute tapioca
- flour as needed for rolling dough
- 1 large egg, white and yolk separated
- turbinado or other coarse sugar
Make the pie dough:
Put the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on medium-low speed until the mixture looks mealy and the largest butter pieces are the size of a flattened pea (about 1 1/2 minutes). With the mixer running, drizzle in the water and mix until the dough has formed large, rounded crumbs and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl; this will happen quickly. (If the mixture stays together when pinched, the dough is ready, if not, and it looks dry, add up to 2 more tablespoons of water, a teaspoon or two at a time.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into two 5-inch disks. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate while
Making the Filling:
Assemble the pie. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Core and thinly slice the pears (peeling is optional). In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced pears, raisins or cranberries, walnuts (if using), maple syrup, pear brandy (or the vanilla extract and lemon juice), and the tapioca. Toss together well. Let sit, tossing occasionally, while you roll the dough.
Have ready a 9-inch pie tin. Roll one of the chilled dough disks into a 13-inch circle using flour as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer the dough to the pie tin and press it in. Trim the dough to 1⁄4-inch past the edge of the rim. Whisk the egg white lightly and brush it all over the dough. Pile the filling into the tin and arrange it in an even mound.
Roll out the second disk of chilled dough into a 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the pie and arrange it over the filling. Trim the top dough so that it overhangs the bottom dough by 1⁄4-inch. Seal the two layers of dough together by rolling the top over the bottom and then folding the two under along the edge of the pan. Flute the edge of the pie crust with your fingers or crimp with a fork. Make five or six slits in the top of the pie crust with a sharp knife to let steam escape.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of water with the egg yolk and brush all over the top crust. Lightly sprinkle the pie with the turbinado or other coarse sugar.
Put the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 50 to 55 minutes.
Cool the pie completely to let the juices set up, at least 4 hours. If you want to serve it warm, reheat in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream if you like.
Yields one double-crust pie. Serves 8