Southern Living (November 2013)
Though it's not a new trend for Thanksgiving, pears are an abundant ingredient in this year's Thanksgiving dishes. And that certainly held true at our house. We made three dishes that used pear for our Fakesgiving.
We were excited by the idea of a Pear and Rosemary Pie, but we were sold by the idea of a Pear and Rosemary Pie with a Cheddar Crust.
Let's talk about the cheddar crust, which was a first for us. Does it taste like cheddar? No, not really. The cheddar does give the crust a distinctive savory note, almost like a cheese breadstick. We almost wanted it to be cheesier. Next time, we'd experiment with adding even more cheese.
But we have problems with this pie when it comes to the filling. We used ripe Bartlett pears, as recommended by the magazine. Even after an hour of cooking, our pears remained firm. We're talking crispy firm. One guest referred to the pie as being akin to "undercooked scallopped potatoes." That, friends, is not something you want to hear about your Thanksgiving pie.
The way we see it, there are a few options to fix this and save what is otherwise a very good pie: Use super-ripe pears. Or cook the pears in some liquid before combining with the other ingredients, in order to soften them. Or find a pear that's less crisp than a Bartlett.
There's a good pie waiting to be had here. We loved the savory crust and thought there was promise in the pear-rosemary filling. We'd recommend tweaking this recipe to get there.
Have an idea for improving this pie? We'd love to hear it.
Yield: Makes 8 servings
Total: 3 Hours
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 cup finely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons cold heavy cream
4 to 5 Tbsp. ice-cold water
3 1/4 pounds Bartlett pears, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Pulse first 2 ingredients and 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar in a food processor 3 or 4 times or until combined. Add cheese and butter; pulse 10 to 12 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle cream and water over mixture; pulse 4 or 5 times or just until moist clumps form. Divide dough in half, and flatten into disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, stir together pears, next 6 ingredients, and remaining 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar in a large bowl.
3. Preheat oven to 400°. Roll 1 dough disk into a 12 1/2-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp. Spoon pear mixture into crust.
4. Roll remaining dough disk to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface, and cut into 6 (2 1/2-inch) strips. Arrange strips in a lattice design over filling; press ends of strips into crust, sealing to bottom crust, and crimp. (Reroll scraps if you do not have enough strips to cover pie.) Whisk together egg and 2 Tbsp. water. Brush lattice with egg mixture.
5. Bake at 400° for 55 minutes to 1 hour, shielding with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let cool on a wire rack 1 hour.