Monday, November 19, 2012

Poached Pear Pie

Last weekend, I received four beautiful Bartlett pears in my produce share. I love pears, but they always seem to go bad before I get around to eating them. So this time I decided to make them into a pie to avoid such a terrible fate, remembering that my mom made a similar decision last Christmas.

This pie is different in the one my mom made. I stumbled upon one pie online that poached the pears in wine and spices and I decided to try that approach. As you're on the hunt for a pie for your Thanksgiving table you should definitely consider adding this pie to your spread. Beyond the fact that this pie is absolutely delicious, you should make this pie for the wonderful smell that engulfs your kitchen during the poaching process. It smells like the holidays.

Still not convinced? The day after I made this pie a coworker asked for the recipe to use as her entry in a pie bake off contest at work. I thought that would be it for my involvement, until I was asked to be a judge for the bake off. So on my lunch break, I sat on a panel of three judges and tasted 10 pies. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. :) My coworker put her own spin on the pie and added fresh cranberries and brought home the second place prize. (And no, I didn't rig the contest, the pie was just that good!)

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Poached Pear Pie

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sweet red wine
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4-5 pears
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons cornstarch.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Peel, core and quarter all the pears.

In a large pot, combine the water, wine, sugar, vanilla, and spices and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, place the pears in the liquid and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered turning the pears once midway.

After 20 minutes, or when the pears are tender, remove the pears and place in a chilled bowl to cool. Also remove the cinnamon and cloves from the liquid and discard.

Return the liquid to a boil and cook until it has been reduced to about 3/4 cup. At this point whisk in the 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken into a syrup.

Pour into a measuring cup and let cool.

Once the pears are cool enough to handle, cut the quarters into cubes.

Line the pie place with the bottom crust and spread the pear cubes and cranberries out evenly.

Pour the syrup reduction over the pears as evenly as possible and top with pats of butter.

Place the top crust, either whole with slits cut in or latticed like in the picture at the top of this post. (Note: I needed larger slits!)

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.

Be sure to let cool before cutting into the pie, no matter how delicious it tastes or your pie slice will fall apart, not that I speak from experience!

Source: Adapted from the Queens Notebook