Green Pear Pie

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I adore pears. Their shape, their scent, and their nectar-sweet flavor, when eaten out of hand. (Or, chilled and just ripe in a mache salad with nuts and a little Basque cheese.) But in my world, ripe pear moments are few–I’m more likely to have green or hard pears hanging around and have long looked for inspirational uses. This 1979 recipe from Linda Verkler solves the hard-green-pear dilemma.

Makes 1, 9-inch deep dish, lattice-crust pie

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup pear, pineapple or apricot preserves
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brandy

Pie Pastry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder or baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbsp ice-cold shortening or lard
  • 4  to 6 Tbsp ice water

Pie Filling Ingredients

  • 5 large, very firm, near-ripe pears
  • about 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Juice of one lemon
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Make glaze: This glaze will “soggy-proof” your pie crust. Warm the preserves and sugar in a double-boiler until liquified. Press through a mesh strainer to eliminate any pulp. Stir in the brandy.
  2. Make pie crust: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter and shortening/or lard into small pieces over all. Using two knives, or a light hand (fingertips) lightly work the fat into the flour until mixture is like coarse cornmeal. Add cold water, 1 Tbsp at a time, using a fork to mix in until it forms a mass. Cover counter with a floured cloth, or plastic wrap. Turn dough out onto this and divide in half. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Chill for one hour or longer.
  3. Roll out one pie pastry disc and fit into deep dish pie plate. Roll out the second disc and cut into lattice strips for the lattice top. Refrigerate lined pie plate and cut strips while making filling.
  4. Peel, core and dice pears. Remove pie plate from fridge and brush with the glaze. Store remaining glaze in covered jar in fridge until you make your next fruit pie. Mix sugar and 1 or 2 Tbsp of flour with the pears (NOTE: use less flour if pears don’t seem too juicy.)
  5. Preheat oven to 425. Layer about 1/2 of the pears into pie dish. Mix two more Tbsp of flour with sugar and sprinkle half of this over pears. Sprinkle with lemon juice and a few dots of butter. Layer remaining pears over and sprinkle again with sugar/flour mixture, lemon juice and remaining butter. Top with dusting of cinnamon.
  6. Arrange lattice pie pastry strips over all. Bake for 10 minutes at 425.
  7. Lower temperature to 350 and bake for 50 minutes more.

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