Tag Archives: Alton Brown

recipe goodness :: perfect pear cranberry pie

Last year I spent Thanksgiving with my sister-in-law’s family and we were all asked to come with a recipe to prepare. So in typical foodie fashion I found a recipe that would be reminiscent of Thanksgiving, but would also step outside the middle-of-the-road boundaries of the seasonal standards. What I found was this Alton Brown recipe for a Pear Cranberry Pie. It was a risk making a pie that had to compete with fan favorites like pumpkin and apple, but knowing that Alton would have perfected every layer from crust to filling, I was hopeful this dessert would delight. And I was right. So this year, the Pear Cranberry Pie made an appearance at our table again and will probably continue to do so. It may be past Thanksgiving, but this pie is a great addition to any holiday party, so if you’re looking for an inspirational addition to your Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s  celebration, I can guarantee this one will be enjoyed by many.

Pear Cranberry Pie
Courtesy of Alton Brown

Makes 1 Pie | Pre Time: 1 Hour | Cook Time: 40-50 Mins. | 425° F

6 oz unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in pieces
2 oz vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-in pieces
5-7 TBS cranberry juice
12 oz all-purpose flour (~2 3/4 cups)
1 tsp salt
1 TBS granulated sugar

3-3 1/2 lbs pears {mix of Bartlett, Bosc and/or Anjou}
1/2 cup sugar, divided
6 oz dried cranberries
3 TBS tapioca flour
2 TBS cranberry jam
1 TBS cranberry juice
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg


Place the butter, shortening and cranberry juice into the fridge for 1 hour.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar by pulsing 3-4 times. Add the butter and pulse 5-6 times until the texture looks mealy. Add the shortening and pulse another 3-4 times until incorporated.

Remove the lid of the food processor and sprinkle in 5 tablespoons of the cranberry juice. Replace the lid and pulse 5 times. Add more cranberry juice as needed, and pulse again until the mixture holds together when squeezed. Weigh the dough and divide in half. Shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Peel and core the pears. Slice into 1/4 to 1/2-in thick wedges. Toss all the pears with 1/4 cup of the sugar, place in a colander set over a large bowl and allow to drain for 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the drained liquid into a small saucepan, place over medium heat and reduce to 2 tablespoons. Set aside to cool. Toss the pears with the remaining sugar, tapioca flour, jam, cranberry juice, lemon juice, salt and nutmeg.

Preheat oven to 425°

Remove 1 disk from the refrigerator. Place the dough onto a lightly floured piece of waxed paper. Lightly sprinkle the top of the doug with flour and roll out into a 12-inch circle. Place into a 9 1/2 to 10-in pie pan that is 2 inches deep. Gently press the dough into the sides of the pan, crimping and trimming the edges as necessary. Place the pears into the unbaked pie shell in concentric circles starting around the edges, working towards the center and forming a slight mound in the center of the pie. Sprinkle the cranberries a little at a time as you go.

Pour over any liquid that remains in the bowl. Roll out the second pie dough as the first. Cut several slits or designs into the center of the pie crust to allow for steam to release when backing. Place this dough over the pears, pressing together the edges of the dough around the rim of the pie. Brush the top crust with the reduced juice everywhere except around the edge of the pie. Trim excess dough.

Gently cover the edges of the pie crust with foil to protect from burning. Place the pie on a half sheet pan and bake on the lower rack of the oven for 20 mins. Remove foil and continue to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes until crust is a golden brown and pears are cooked through but not mushy. Remove to a rack and cool a minimum of 4 hours or until room temperature.

More Inspiration From Alton:
Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster w/ Bourbon Ice Cream

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep


Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning

Yes Alton, I'm Still Saving You A Seat at 8.ate@eight

Alton Brown considers himself a Southern cook and lives by the motto that everything that happens in the kitchen is about science. And what is the defining flavor of the South, you ask? Bourbon, of course. Bringing those two perspectives together during his New York City Wine & Food Festival demo, Alton concocted three classic Bourbon recipes shared in the post below:

Bourbon Mint Julep
Bourbon Ice Cream
Bourbon Banana’s Foster

It’s 11am and Time for a Mint Julep

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep
Prep Time: 3-5 mins
Serves 1

10 mint leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 jigger Bourbon
Seltzer or Club Soda

Add the mint leaves and sugar to your glass and gently muddle to bruise the leaves, but careful not to tear {about 3-5 turns of a muddler}. Add a full jigger of Bourbon, fill the cup with ice and top off with seltzer water or club soda. Alton recommends not stirring for a stronger surprise near the bottom of your swig.

Gentle Muddling is Key

Getting into the science behind cooking with Bourbon, Alton pulled out the periodic table and his chemistry notes to explain that ethyl {found in alcohol} doesn’t freeze — in fact it acts as an antifreeze. So when making something scrumptious like Bourbon ice cream, it’s important to mimic the flavors you would find in Bourbon, with non-alcoholic ingredients. Pulling out a glass pickle jar for easy ingredient shaking and a large canister of liquid nitrogen {clearly not in most home kitchens}, Alton revealed a few on-stage tricks for instant ‘scream.

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Ice Cream

1/4 cup Bourbon
2 cups Half & Half
1/2 cup Agave
1/4 cup Molasses
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, grated
Handful Chopped Pecans
1/3 cup Bacon, Cooked Extra Crispy

Add the Bourbon, Half & Half, Agave and Molasses to a microwave safe container and microwave until the Molasses dissolves. Allow to cool. Add cooled liquid and rest of ingredients to a tight sealing container {Alton recommends a bulk glass pickle jar} and shake vigorously.  Add to home ice cream maker, or if you’re like Alton, add to a Kitchenaid mixer and starting pouring in liquid nitrogen for great effect and a quick freeze {not sure I would actually recommend this}.

It's All About Science in the Kitchen

Adding a Touch of Bourbon for Authenticity

Shake Shake Shake

Everything Into the Mixer (Including the Liquid Nitrogen)

Wrapping up the 45-minute demo, Alton pulled out a few more tricks, this time involving flames, to make a Banana’s Foster dessert to pair with the Bourbon Ice Cream. An important ingredient to making this dessert successfully is heat from the caramelized sugar. Without it, the Bourbon would not burn on its own. And note to the parents out there, it’s impossible to boil out all the alcohol because steam from the cooking process puts the flame out first….so if you want little Johnny to fall asleep early, this might be the dessert for him.

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster

Cook Time: 7 mins
Serves 2

2 TBS unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 under ripe bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the bourbon. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over ice cream and serve.

Alton Melting the Sugar and Butter with the Bananas


Great Bourbon Demo

Great demo and early morning learnings for us science geeks who like to know why something works or doesn’t work in the kitchen! If you liked Alton Brown’s Bourbon in the morning approach, then check out his new book that just came out called Good Eats 2: The Middle Years.

More NYC Wine & Food Festival Fun:
New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo

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Filed under @home {recipes to love}, NYC Best

New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats

Chelsea Market After Dark

New York City Wine & Food Festival kicked off Thursday night with several star-studded events attracting celebrity chefs, industry big-wigs and foodies for a weekend long line-up of good food for a good cause. The weekend is jam packed with 120 day and nighttime events, seminars, demos, book signings and dinners with up close access and to some of the biggest culinary names and their tasty creations. The best part about it all {besides this being foodie heaven} is that 100% of net proceeds go directly to Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength, two community-based organizations focused on helping to fight hunger — allowing us to literally put our money where our mouth is.

Alton Brown Sock Puppet Blue Print

What better way to launch into a series of eating and drinking events, than by attending the Chelsea Market After Dark event hosted by Food Network great and host of Good Eats, Alton Brown. Every single business operating out of Chelsea Market also showed up with some of their tastiest creations to design an evening centered around an assortment of flavors and bites for foodies to sample as they socialized through the halls of the former Nabisco factory, which is now home to some of NY’s best specialty food shops.

Alton Brown, looking awfully fit and sharp in his corduroy jacket, hosted his own mini-bash amongst some of his set props and scientific paraphernalia, generously mingling and taking photos with the crowd. As fans inched in around him, I jumped in for an intro and took the opportunity to learn a few things worth sharing:

Favorite Kitchen Utensil: His Brain
Most Important Dish to Learn for New Cooks: Eggs {I agree!}
Favorite Spice: Cumin {have you tried my cumin egg salad recipe Alton? We might be new friends}
Favorite Recipe: Whatever his wife makes {always a good answer}

Alton Assuring Me He'll Attend My Next 8.ate@eight Supper Club

Know Your Beef

A True Chemist

Taste Buds Dissected

Chelsea Market is one of my favorite places to shop, with everything from bakeries and farmstand meats to an olive oil filling station and kitchen supply store, there is no shortage of places you can stop in to pick up the makings for a weekday dinner or artisanal products for a unique gift. After hangin’ with Alton’s whimsical puppets and props we explored the rest of the market for other worthy discoveries. Lots to taste, but here are some highlights:

The Lobster Place: Fresh shucked oysters
One of my favorite places to pick up fresh fish or seafood — they have a huge selection of whole, filleted and pre-seasoned fiddies, the prices are reasonable and there is a chowder and sushi bar for a quicker bite when cooking is not an option.

The Lobster Place Shuckin' Oysters

Pure Food and Wine: Pinot Noir Pepper Tarts with Cashew Cheese, Caramelized Shallot and Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Don’t run away when I tell you Pure prepares only raw-vegan and organic food. They are doing things with fresh ingredients that would make you believe magical cooking techniques were involved, but in fact everything they serve you has not been cooked. The flavors are extraordinary, the presentation beautiful and you don’t leave feeling in need of undoing a button or two.  I love meat just as much as the next carnivore, but this was MY FAVORITE bite I sampled the entire evening. There’s something to say for not messing with nature.

Pure Food and Wine Pinot Noir Pepper Tarts

Jacques Torres: Chocolate Chip and Mudslide Cookies
Everyone who knows me knows I’m not big on sweets, but after taking a bite of these I would recommend to all you chocolate lovers to run and get one for yourself. The Jacque Torres chocolate chip cookie was top notch, but the mudslide cookie was a chocolate champion, replacing the butter in the recipe with more chocolate and creating a richness that will make your head spin.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip and Mudslide Cookies

Dickson’s Farmstand Meats: Pulled Pork Sliders
After too much chocolate on the tongue, I had to wash it down with something savory again. One of the most popular tables of the evening {as evidenced by the line} was Dickson’s Farmstand Meats pulled pork sliders. And I can understand why — using all locally sourced, artisanal pork, they topped this guy off with a creamy, pickley slaw/spread/relish — whatever you want to call it, it was good. Full of flavor and texture it was MY FAVORITE CARNIVOROUS bite of the night.

Dickensons Farmstand Meats Line Awaiting Pulled Pork Sliders

DFM Pulled Pork Sliders

Yum! ‘nough said.

More to come on other NYC Wine & Food Festival events. In the meantime, stop by Chelsea Market if you haven’t already discovered this mecca of artisanal and good food goodness. Its factory feel is cool enough to check out on its own, but I could get lost for hours among the ever increasing number of shops and stands bringing some of the freshest and best food products to New Yorkers.

Map: 75 9th Avenue @ Chelsea Market

Other Chelsea Market Favs:
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo
NYC Best: Falafel @ Ruthy’s, Chelsea Market
Why Buy the Cow, When You Can Get the Milkshake for Free?
NYC Best: Take the Dull Out Of Cooking {Knives} with Samurai Sharpening @ Chelsea Market

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Filed under Do This!, Eat Here!, NYC Best