Thanks to Wendy on the PVB Recipe Board for this recipe for Pear Cranberry Pie. The moment I saw the title I knew I had to make it. And it kills two birds with one stone... it continues my new year's quest to make more pie and it uses up some of the cranberries I have been hoarding in my freezer.
I am not a pie maker so I find crust intimidating. Actually I find anything I have to roll out intimidating. It's never even, it's never the shape it should be. But I'm goin in. Cover me!
The full recipe will be at the end, but here is the play by play. You start with 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup cake flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 Tablespoon sugar. Pulse that in the food processor a few times to mix the ingredients. Then add 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and 2 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening. Pulse about 6 times until the until you have lumps about the size of peas. Then with the processor running, add 3 Tablespoons of the cold water and process until large moist clumps form and the dough holds together. If the dough is too dry, add more cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time. From there you want to put all the dough together and form it into a flat square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
Butter a 9- or 10-inch pie pan. Take the dough from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a round about 4 inches wider than the bottom of the pie pan.
You can roll the dough around your rolling pin then place it in the pie pan. Carefully press the dough into the pan. Trim the edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and crimp the edge.
Freeze for 15 minutes before baking. As not a pie baker, this part made me sweat! I didn't want to overwork the dough, so even though it was way thinner on one side, I kept it the way it was. I also have no clue how to crimp edges! I thought of flattening them with a fork too late so I tried to make a nice edge from seeing so many chefs on TV do it. Not bad right!?
While the crust is in the freezer, mix together pears, sugar and melted butter. I used red pears. They looked the best in the store that day. Funny thing, I bought 5 pears to use. When I was slicing them, I lost count and wasn't really paying attention but assumed when I came to the end of the bag, that I had sliced 5 pears. A few days later, I found a lone red pear rolling around in my trunk! Oops! Stir in cranberries and cinnamon (I also added a little nutmeg). Then pour the mixture into the pie crust.
Now it's time for the best part, the crumb topping!!! In a small bowl, stir together granulated and light brown sugars, flour and cinnamon. Pour in melted butter over the flour mixture and mix until fine crumbs form. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the pie.
Now it's time to bake this beauty! Bake until the crumb topping is golden brown in color, the pears are tender and the cranberries are soft. Let it cool for about an hour or more. This pie is delicious. It's not overly sweet and the pears are a nice mild compliment to the tart cranberries. A little vanilla ice cream with it rounds out this great dessert!!
Flaky Pie Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling dough
1/3 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus additional for the pan
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
In a food processor, mix together the all-purpose and cake flours, salt and sugar. Add the cold butter and shortening and process, using about 6 pulses, until the mixture forms pea-size lumps. With the machine running, add 3 tablespoons of the cold water and process until large moist clumps form and the dough holds together. If the dough is too dry, add more cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Gather the dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour before rolling. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead and refrigerated.) This makes one crust for a 9 or 10 inch pie plate.
Butter a 9- or 10-inch pie pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a round about 4 inches wider than the bottom of the pie pan. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Trim the edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and crimp the edge. Freeze for 15 minutes before baking.
Pear and Cranberry Crumb Pie
For the filling:
5 cups peeled and cored ripe pears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cranberries, fresh or frozen and defrosted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
For the filling: In a large bowl, mix together the pears, sugar and melted butter. Stir in the cranberries and cinnamon. Transfer the mixture to the pie crust.
For the crumb topping: In a small bowl, stir together the granulated and light brown sugars, flour and cinnamon. Pour the melted butter over the flour mixture and mix until fine crumbs form. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the filling.
Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until the crumb topping is golden brown, the pears are tender when tested with a toothpick and the cranberries are soft, about 30 minutes. Set the pie aside to cool for at least 1 hour before serving. The pie can be baked 1 day ahead of time, covered and stored at room temperature.