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Double Crust Pear Pie

Double Crust Pear Pie
Apple pie and pumpkin pie are staples in the fall, but they’re not the only pies worth putting on your dessert table. This Double Crust Pear Pie takes advantage of in-season pears and showcases them in this lovely double crust pie as an alternative to – or an addition to! – your usual holiday pie line up.

The filling for this pie calls for a lot of pears. I like the honeyed sweetness of Bartlett pears, which maintain a nice texture after baking. D’anjou pears can also be used, but they tend to be a bit smaller, so you may need more of them. There are many varieties of pears out there – which you may not see at a grocery store, but will definitely see at farmers markets in your area – and you can always experiment with different types, as long as they are crisp and not mealy. Regardless of what type of pear you work with, you need to select pears that are just barely ripe for best results in this recipe. Not only are they easier to handle and peel, but they hold their shape well when baking.

I added sugar, allspice, vanilla and a bit of salt to the filling. Allspice is a wonderful flavor to pair with pears, though cinnamon and nutmeg could also be nice additions. I added little bit of cornstarch to the filling and, while you could get away with not using it, I recommend it because pears can give off a lot of juice while they are baking and you don’t want your pie crust to get soggy.

I used an all butter crust that I made in the food processor. You can always cut the butter in by hand, but the food processor makes the process quick and easy, and I love being able to take advantage of the time savings when I can. The crust can be made up to two days ahead of time, if you want to work ahead, too.

The pie needs to cool completely before slicing so that the juices have a chance to thicken up and redistribute themselves in the fruit. The crust should be deeply browned and the pears should be tender. Serve as-is, or slightly warmed up with a scoop of vanilla or butter pecan ice cream on the side.

Double Crust Pear Pie
All-Butter Crust
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter, cold and cut into chunks
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6-8 tbsp cold water

Filling
2 1/2 lbs firm Bartlett pears (5-8, depending on size).
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp heavy cream, for topping

Make the Crust
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add in butter and pulse until it is broken into chunks about the size of a pecan or large almond. Drizzle in the water while pulsing the machine until a shaggy dough starts to come together. If dough is too dry to form a ball, add additional 1-2 tbsp of water.
Shape dough into two balls and flatten balls into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Make and Bake the Filling
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the pie dough until it is large enough to fill a 9-inch pie plate (place plate over rolled-out crust; it is large enough if you have about 2-inches extra all the way around). Transfer crust to pie plate and press into place, leaving extra dough hanging over the sides. Chill for 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 425F.
Peel the pears, then cut them lengthwise and remove the cores with a melon baller. Cut each half into four slices and place in a large bowl. Add sugar, salt, allspice, vanilla and cornstarch to the bowl and toss to combine. Let pears sit while you roll out top crust.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining pie of pie dough until it is large enough to cover the top of the pie. Use a decorative cookie cutter to cut vents in the top of the pie, or simply make 5-7 slits on the top with a knife.
Fill crust base with pears, arranging them as evenly as possible.
Brush overhanging pastry of the bottom crust with a little heavy cream. Place top crust on top of the pears, pressing where the cream is to seal the pastry. Cut off excess with a knife and flute the edge. Brush top crust with remaining cream.
Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, then turn heat down to 375F (without opening the oven door) and bake for an additional 50-65 minutes, or until the juices from the pie are bubbling thickly through the vents. Allow pie to cool completely before slicing.

Serves 8-10.

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