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Pear Raisin Pie

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Yields one 9-inch pie.

This pie is full of the flavors of autumn harvest, perfect for Thanksgiving. My "prefab" lattice crust technique lets you take as much time as you need arranging the lattice, without it getting too soft or getting spotted with filling.

For the filling:
  • 3 lb. firm, ripe pears, like Bartletts, peeled, cored, cut into 3/4-inch slices, and then halved
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Pinch ground mace
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 Tbs. cornstarch
For the crust:
  • 1 recipe Classic Pie Crust  
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped walnuts mixed with 1 Tbs. sugar

Position racks in the low and middle spots of the oven and set a foil-lined baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drips. Heat the oven to 425°F.

Make the filling

In a large saucepan, combine the pears, raisins, brown sugar, lemon zest, juice, cinnamon, cloves, mace, salt, and all but 2 Tbs. of the bourbon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring gently until the sugar is dissolved and the pears begin to release some liquid, about 4 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with the remaining 2 Tbs. bourbon; add this to the pears. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook until the liquid is clear, about 1 minute. Cool the filling to room temperature.

Roll out the crusts:

Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out between two large, lightly floured pieces of parchment to a rectangle slightly larger than 14x9 inches. Remove the top sheet of parchment. Trim the dough to an exact 14x9-inch rectangle. Cut 12 strips that are 14 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. If the dough gets soft, slide the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet and chill briefly before continuing.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange 6 strips horizontally, setting them 3/4 inch apart; these will be the "bottom" strips (the other 6 will be your "top" strips). Fold back every other bottom strip halfway, starting with the strip closest to you. Lay one top strips vertically, slightly right of center.

Unfold the folded strips and fold back the other three strips. Lay a second top strip 3/4 inch to the left of the first. Now fold back alternating strips on the right, starting at the top. Lay another top strip 3/4 inch to the right of the center strip; unfold the folded strips. Repeat left and right with the rest of the strips.

Dab a little water between the strips where they overlap, pressing gently to seal. Cover the lattice loosely with plastic and put the baking sheet in the fridge while you roll out the bottom crust.

Remove the other disk of dough from the refirgerator, and roll out between two large pieces of parchment to a 14-diameter round that's 1/8-inch thick. and line a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the excess to 3/4 inch from the plate's outer edge.

Fill and bake the pie:

Fill the bottom pie shell with the cooled pear mixture. Remove the lattice from the fridge and put your palm under the parchment at the center of the lattice. Lift the paper and invert the lattice onto the filling.

Trim the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch margin from the edge of the pie pan. Press the edges together, fold them under, and pinch-crimp the edge using your thumb and two index fingers.

Brush the lattice with the milk and sprinkle the nut and sugar mixture over the pie. Bake at 425°F until the pears are just tender when pierced with a knife, 50 to 55 minutes. If the lattice browns too quickly, tent the pie with foil.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 600; Fat (g): 21; Fat Calories (kcal): 190; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 6; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 94; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): 200; Cholesterol (mg): 30; Fiber (g): 6;

Photo: Mark Ferri

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