Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pear Ginger-Maple Pie

Reader Nancy Yildiz passes along this excellent Autumn pie recipe for your enjoyment and mine. Having made this pie yesterday, I’ve already enjoyed it, and can promise it will be a family favorite for many years to come! I’ve changed Nancy’s recipe slightly, just as Nancy changed it slightly from a recipe of the same name that appears elsewhere on the Internet (see credit at end of this post). 
Nancys version is quick and easy because it uses a commercially made pie crust. I almost never buy frozen pie shells, and now I remember why! I paid nearly $6 for two tiny pie shells the package advertises as “deep dish.” If this is what some pastry manufacturers consider “deep dish,” I can’t imagine how they’d define a shallow pie. 

But that is a critique for another time and another day. Unless I can’t bear to keep quiet, of course ... The fact is, Nancy’s simplification of this recipe is great! Nancy passed along the recipe at the same time she gave me a large quantity of Anjou pears. Well, Dollinks, the recipe’s a keeper. The pears, we’re working our way through. That’s why you’ll find yet another pear recipe post in tomorrows blog.

But first let’s begin with that “deep dish” frozen pie crust, shall we (Didn’t I say I’d have a hard time keeping quiet)? I was brung up right, so would never name names - but this was the brand I used:

This brand! This one. No names mentioned.

A couple of readers in the back row said they couldnt see. 

Still cant make it out?

Ah, yes! “Deep dish!”

I just happen to own a “deep dish” pie plate. Allow me to show you how the “deep dish” pie shell produced by the Manufacturer Who Shall Not Be Named fits into my “deep dish” pie plate: 

Yep! A picture is worth a thousand words ...

I neednt ask whats wrong with this picture, because you already know. So now its time to pretend that you made this pie crust with your delicate little hands. If no one asks, let them assume, because it is a tasty (if teensy) pie crust. Rule #1: It is essential that you not serve the purchased pie crust on the foil plate in which it was manufactured. If you do, everyone will know you didn’t make it yourself. Rule #2: Rule #1 is the only rule. Frozen pie shells are usually sold in a package of two. So here’s how you use that to your advantage to fool the world:

Step 1

Step 1: Invert your smallest pie plate over the back of the manufacturers foil pan. This ensures that the purchased pastry in the foil pan will fit your pie plate.

Step 2

Step 2: Remove pastry from first foil pan by inverting it over second foil pan the package contains.

Step 3

Step 3: Place your own pie dish over the back of the foil pastry-covered dish. Flip the foil dish over, allowing the pastry to snuggle into your own pie dish. 

As luck would have it, the frozen pie crust is exactly the right size for this recipe, so you’ll hear no more whinging from me on that subject!

Pear Ginger-Maple Pie:

To Prepare the Pear Ginger-Maple Filling

5-to-6 c. peeled and coarsely chopped pears, firm but ripe 
2 tbsp. cornstarch (see Ingredient Note)
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ c. maple syrup
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. chopped sweetened, preserved ginger (see Ingredient Note
One 9- or 10-in. frozen, commercially made pastry shell (do not thaw or bake before filling) 

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Place pears in large bowl, combining well with cornstarch, salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, and ginger. Heap pear mixture into frozen pie crust, pressing down lightly so pears fit snugly. 

Slice, core, and peel pears

Chop coarsely (Ron did this job for me)

Don’t omit the sweetened, preserved ginger 
that makes this pie so scrumptious!

Pour well-mixed filling into pie shell

Ingredient Note: Although I upped the original amount of cornstarch to 2 tbsp. from the 1-½ tbsp. of both former versions, I still found this pie had excess moisture on the bottom of the crust. Next time, I’ll omit the cornstarch and instead add the classic pie-filling thickener of 2 tbsp. tapioca. One version of this recipe suggests adding ½ tsp. ground ginger in place of the sweetened, preserved ginger. I strongly recommend you not follow that suggestion. The sweetened, preserved ginger is a major part of what gives this pie its sensational flavor.

To Prepare the Oatmeal Crumb Topping:

⅔ c. flour
½ c. old-fashioned rolled oats
½ c. packed brown sugar
⅛ tsp. salt
⅓ c. cold, unsalted butter cut into ¼-in. cubes

In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients for oatmeal crumb topping, cutting in butter until mixture forms small pea-sized bits. Crumble evenly over pears. Bake 50-to-55 min. Cool on wire rack at least 1 hr. This pie slices more easily when it is baked a day ahead and refrigerated. 

Combine topping ingredients
Sprinkle evenly over pear filling

Slide into oven to bake!

We asked our prettiest guest to serve
this pie. Friend Leslie won!

Perfection: Pear Ginger-Maple Pie

This recipe appears in a slightly different version on 

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