Monday, November 5, 2012

Pear Pie with Cinnamon & Nutmeg

One thing I've loved about Charleston is having an Earth Fare. Since Joey and I started eating organic meat, dairy, and produce, we've found that we get the best prices and quality there on organic items, but  we also come away with amazing deals on those items with their great coupons. I tried getting into the whole crazy coupon thing, but I found that most coupons are for prepackaged foods, not really whole foods. Earth Fare, however, sends out coupons for those whole foods---when we signed up for weekly coupons, we even got one for a free whole chicken! We've also gotten apples, a whole pineapple, and even saw coupons for lobster tails. Pretty dang awesome. Well, last week I got a coupon for three pounds of Bosc pears, for only one dollar! Along with the fact that I found gas for $3.09 that morning, my day was pretty much made. 

Since Joey has never really liked plain pears, I decided to try making something that he might like: Pie. Ohhhh yeah. Who doesn't love pie? And it was a hit. I was nervous about the pears getting too soft and mushy, but their texture was perfect. For those who like apple pie, it was very similar in taste and texture.

Pear Pie with Cinnamon & Nutmeg
I adapted this from Better Homes & Gardens

(from Better Homes & Gardens, but feel free to use your own single crust recipe)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (we use unbleached)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, cut up (or shortening, if you prefer)
1/4-1/2 cup ice water

6 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced pears (I used 6 pears)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
heaping 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
We like a lot of spice, so feel free to adjust the cinnamon and nutmeg if its too much.
Adjust the sugar and flour levels depending on the sweetness and juiciness of your pears

Crumb Topping:
2/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey

For the Crust
Stir together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry blender until incorporated. Add the water one tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until the flour mixture is moistened. Gather into a bowl and knead gently until it holds together. 
On a pastry cloth or a lightly floured surface, gently roll dough into a 12 inch circle. Transfer to the pie dish by wrapping the dough circle onto a rolling pin and unrolling into the dish. Lightly press into the dish.
Trim the dough to half an inch over the pie dish edge. Fold the extra dough under so its even with the plate. Finish the edges. Next, I like to blind bake the shell for about 7 minutes at 450, just to make sure any filling (especially if its too  juicy) won't make the crust too soggy, but you don't have to.

For the Filling
Peel, core, and thinly slice the pears and place in a bowl. Add the flour, sugar, and spices. Mix well. You'll notice the dry ingredients will coat the fruit and a little sauce/filling will start to form.
Spoon filling into the pie crust.

For the Crumb Topping
Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Cut in the butter using a fork or a pastry blender. Gradually add in the honey until the mixture forms clumpy crumbs--you may use less or more honey. Top the fruit filling with the crumb mixture. 

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake another 25-30 minutes until golden. Let pie cool on a rack. 

Add a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, and you're good to go!

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