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Fresh Pear Pie

Harvest Elegance: Revel in the Sweet Symphony of Fresh Pear Pie

As autumn graces us with its golden hues, there’s no better way to celebrate the season’s bounty than with a Fresh Pear Pie—a dessert that encapsulates the essence of crisp fall days and orchard harvests. Join us on a culinary journey as we explore the art of creating this exquisite pie, where succulent pears take center stage in a symphony of flavors. This recipe promises not only a delicious dessert but a celebration of the unparalleled elegance that fresh pears bring to the table.

Ingredients:

For the Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

For the Pear Filling:

  • 6-7 large ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

For the Pie Crust:

  1. Prepare the Dough: In a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together. Divide it in half, form into discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Roll Out the Crust: On a floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a circle large enough to line a 9-inch pie dish. Gently transfer the rolled-out dough to the dish, press it into place, and trim any excess.
  3. Pre-Bake the Crust: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line the pie crust with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment, then bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow it to cool while you prepare the filling.

For the Pear Filling:

  1. Slice and Toss Pears: Peel, core, and slice the ripe pears. In a large bowl, gently toss the pear slices with lemon juice to prevent browning.
  2. Mix Sugar and Spices: In a separate bowl, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt. Mix well to ensure even distribution of the spices.
  3. Coat Pears and Add Vanilla: Add the sugar and spice mixture to the sliced pears, tossing until the pears are evenly coated. Stir in the vanilla extract for an extra layer of flavor.
  4. Fill the Pie Crust: Arrange the coated pear slices in the pre-baked pie crust, creating a visually appealing pattern. Ensure an even distribution of the sugary mixture.
  5. Top with Second Crust: Roll out the second disc of dough and cover the pear filling. Trim any excess dough, leaving a slight overhang. Seal the edges and crimp for a decorative finish. Cut slits on the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.
  6. Bake to Golden Perfection: Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the pear filling is bubbling. Cover the edges with foil if they begin to brown too quickly.

For the Glaze:

  1. Prepare the Glaze: In a small saucepan, heat apricot preserves and water over medium heat until the preserves melt and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Brush the Glaze: While the pie is still warm, brush the apricot glaze over the top for a glossy finish. Allow the pie to cool before serving.

Cook Notes:

  • Choose ripe but firm pears for the filling to ensure they hold their shape during baking.
  • Adjust the sugar quantity in the filling based on the sweetness of the pears and your personal taste preferences.
  • If the crust edges are browning too quickly during baking, cover them with foil to prevent over-browning.

Variations:

  1. Nutty Crunch: Enhance the texture by adding a cup of chopped toasted nuts, such as walnuts or pecans, to the filling.
  2. Spiced Caramel Drizzle: Elevate the indulgence by drizzling the cooled pie with a spiced caramel sauce just before serving.
  3. Pear and Cranberry Fusion: Introduce a tart twist by adding a cup of fresh cranberries to the pear filling for a delightful burst of flavor.

Keto Versions:

  • Substitute almond flour for all-purpose flour in the crust to create a keto-friendly pie base.
  • Sweeten the filling with a keto-approved sweetener and use a low-carb thickening agent like xanthan gum instead of cornstarch.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Opt for a low-carb baking mix or almond flour in the crust.
  • Replace the sugars in the filling with a low-carb sweetener, adjusting to your desired level of sweetness.

As you slice into the Fresh Pear Pie, let the aroma of spiced pears and the buttery flakiness of the crust transport you to a cozy autumn day. This pie, with its sweet and juicy pear filling encased in a perfectly baked crust, is a celebration of the season’s bounty. Whether shared with loved ones during a festive gathering or enjoyed as a comforting solo treat, Chef John’s Fresh Pear Pie is a testament to the beauty of simple, quality ingredients. So, embrace the fall flavors, savor each bite, and let this pie be the embodiment of harvest elegance on your dessert table—a timeless classic that showcases the sublime essence of fresh pears.

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