Friday, 7 October 2011

Gingerbread Pear Pie with Dried Cranberries

Last week my mother-in-law gave me a big bag of pears she had gotten from a friend at church. Since we are still working on eating melon from our garden, and plums that we went out and picked, they sat around until they were very ripe. In order to prevent them all ending up in the compost, I made this. And I have to say it was very good! I really liked the gingerbread crust.

It was good enough that you could make it and use it for cookies. You might want to add a bit more sugar in that case; I would think 2/3 of a cup would be plenty. I had enough leftover dough just to make 2 cookies, and I just dropped them in a little sugar to coat them before baking and thought that was fine.

Also I am calling for firm-ripe pears. Mine were on the soft side and they were okay, but I think it would have been better if they had not been quite so ripe. Next time I know what to do and I won't let them sit so long!

8 servings
2 hours - 30 minutes prep time

Gingerbread Pear Pie with Dried Cranberries
Make the Crust:
2 1/2 cups soft whole wheat flour
1/3 cup Sucanat or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 of a freshly grated medium nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fancy molasses
2 tablespoons water

Put the flour, Sucanat, salt and spices in a food processor, and pulse to blend. Cut the butter into chunks and drop it in. Process until the butter is evenly distributed throughout the flour in pieces about the size of a small pea.

Mix the molasses and water, and heat just sufficiently to dissolve the molasses - in the microwave for a few seconds works well.

Process the molasses and water into the flour mixture, until it comes together. Turn it out onto a sheet of parchment paper, and wrap it up. It may be a bit moister than pastry usually is, but it is okay. Set it aside to rest for about 15 minutes.

Prepare the Fruit:
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup finely chopped preserved ginger
6 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
8 to 10 medium-large ripe but firm pears

Mix the cranberries, chopped preserved ginger, arrowroot and sugar in a large bowl.

Peel and core the pears, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Toss them with the cranberry mixture until well blended.

Finish the Pie:
a little more flour for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Divide the dough into 2 portions, one about 60% of the dough and the other, therefore, about 40% of the dough.

Roll the larger piece of dough out on the parchment paper, sprinkling it with flour as needed to keep it from sticking to either the paper or the roller. When it is of a size to fit a 10" pie pan, invert the pan over dough then flip it all over so that the dough is in the pan. Peel off the paper, and adjust the crust so that it fills the pan from edge to edge nicely.

Scrape the filling into the pie pan and spread it out evenly.

Roll out the remaining dough, again dusting it with flour as needed, until it will cover the pie. Either roll it around the rolling pin and unroll it on the pie, or quickly invert the paper with the crust over the pie. Peel off the paper, and adjust the position of the top crust.

Pinch the edges together all around the pie, and cut air-holes for the steam to escape as the pie bakes. Bake the pie for 1 hour, until browned around the edges. Let cool before serving.

If there is any leftover pastry, it can be rolled into a ball, flattened, then dipped in sugar. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on thickness, and voilĂ : a few bonus, extra cookies.

Last year at this time it was Braised Turkey.

No comments: