I’m getting into a bit of a pie project. I almost hate to tell you about it in case I never make another pie after this one, but I’m determined to make this go. Recently, I was trying to decide on what kind of desserts to place my focus (I am quite focus challenged). Should it be cookies or cakes? I asked my husband for input and decided to add a third style of dessert to make a real list of choices. I asked, should it be cookies, cakes, or pies? The man chose pies. Who knew?
Coincidently, the November issue of Food Network Magazine came out shortly after this, and there are 10 pie recipes published within. All of them looked really good! I chose the crumble-topped pear and apple pie with which to begin my experiment.
This pie is fabulous! That being said, I did change a bit of the procedure from the original published recipe. Those instructions had the fruit cooked in the microwave first, then baked in the pie for another hour and a half. I decided that an hour and a half was enough cooking time for my pears and apples, and skipped the microwave step. I also went with craisins (instead of mixed dried fruit), chose brown sugar instead of white, and added some nutmeg with the cinnamon.
It is absolutely imperative that you place the pie on a baking sheet to bake, because it will bubble over. Or at least mine did. Significantly! I kind of expect this from fruit pies and am willing to take precautions/clean up a bit of mess. I just don’t want to clean up burned, fruit-juice-and-sugar mixtures from the bottom of my oven.
It is not imperative, however, to make your own pastry for pie. There, I said it. While I do find homemade pastry to be better, I’ve found that taking a little help from, say Pillsbury, is the difference between me making a pie and me making cookies or cake. I hope to improve my rusty crust skills if this pie journey continues, but until then…. (If you do want to make pastry, the recipes in this post, this post and this post should work.)
Pie is a bit of extra work for dessert, but this one is so delicious, I was happy to put in that time. The combination of ripe pears, good apples, and a few dried cranberries, sweetened with brown sugar and lots of honey was wonderful for this time of year. The addition of the juice and zest of a whole lemon, however, was what made this pie special. Lemon and honey make such a magical mixture and with the autumn fruits they were just wonderful. The crumble topping was fabulous, too, baking up sweet and crunchy and crumbly. Stop #1 on my pie adventure has been a success! I think there will be more pie in the not-to-distant future!
Pear Apple Crumble Pie
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Pastry for single-crust pie (store-bought is fine)
For the topping:
¾ cup rolled oats
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
For the filling:
1 ½ pounds pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 ½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
½ teaspoon salt
1. Roll out the pastry dough (or unroll a store-bought one) to about 12-inches in diameter. Drape the dough into a 9-inch pie pan and ease it to fit without stretching. Crimp or shape the edges as desired. Place the pastry in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to chill. (If you will be refrigerating it longer, cover it in plastic wrap.)
2. To make the topping: combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium-size bowl and toss together to combine well. Add the cold butter pieces and work them in until well incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. I like to use my hands for this, but you could use a pastry blender or a fork. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a few days).
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. To make the filling, combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir together, trying not to break up the fruit, until everything is well-combined.
4. Place the pie pan with the chilled crust on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or a silicone baking mat. Pour the filling mixture into the crust, mounding it to fit as necessary. Crumble the topping mixture over the top of the filling, pressing it gently to make it fit.
5. Bake at 375 F for 1 ½ hours, or until the fruit is very soft and the topping and crust are well-browned. Begin checking the pie after about 45 minutes and tent with foil when the topping starts to get dark to prevent it from burning. Cool completely to serve (although it’s ok if you serve it while still a little warm). Top each serving with ice cream if desired.
Makes about 8 servings.
One year ago: Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins