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

Crust:
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

Filling:
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

Crust:

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.

Filling:
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

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3 Comments

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

3 responses to “recipe goodness :: perfect pear cranberry pie

  1. Ken

    I’d have to agree, that this pie competes well with pumpkin, apple or any other. It’s yummy!!!

  2. Rick

    It was a welcome addition to our dessert table @ Thanksgiving this year. Great job!

  3. Cm

    it was a wonderful combination of flavors !! a keeper.

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