Pear and Berry Pie
I had the ingredients and I had a brand new cookbook that I needed to break in! Borrowed from Ken Haedrich’s book, ‘Pie Academy’, the cardamom is perfect, but you for sure need to take the time to macerate the fruit and reduce the juices!
1/2 recipe of Brown Sugar Pastry or Duchess Pastry – or enough pastry for 2 crusts
5 c. ripe pears, cored and sliced (I didn’t peel mine)
2/3 c. sugar AND 1/4 t. cardamom
1 t. lemon zest AND 1 T. lemon juice
3 T. cornstarch AND 2 T. sugar
2 c. raspberries or blackberries (I used a combo), lightly frozen (easier to mix in)
2 T. butter
cream AND more sugar for sprinkling on crust before baking (optional)
Roll out your pastry as you would (be quick if you’re using a butter pastry!) and fit it into the pie plate (deep dish, as usual for me) with a bit extra hanging over the edges. Put this into the fridge for 15 minutes to half an hour while you prep the filling. If you’re doing lattice, it’s easiest to roll the top portion now as well, but roll it into a rectangle-ish shape, slice the strips and then slide them into the fridge on a sheet of parchment or a baking sheet to keep cold as well.
Place the pears, sugar, cardamom, zest and lemon juice in a large bowl and stir well, then leave the pears to sit for about 15 minutes, stirring the mix a couple more times as you wait.
If the fruit is very juicy (which mine was), place a sieve over a well sprayed, 4 cup (or larger) glass Pyrex measuring cup, and drain the pear juices into it. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of sugar, put the pears back into the bowl and toss them with the cornstarch mix, then carefully stir in the berries.
Add the butter to the pear juice, make a note of the how much there is, and then put it into the microwave for a couple of minutes at a time to boil until the juices reduce to about half – this usually takes 6 to 8 minutes.
As the juices are being reduced, spread the pear/berry mix evenly across the bottom of your prepped and chilled crust, then scrape the now thickened pear juices evenly over top. Top with your remaining crust, cutting vents as needed, or form a lattice and then trim and crimp the edges.
You can then brush on some cream and sprinkle a bit of sugar over the lattice and border (I forgot!). Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then cover the edges with foil, or an ‘edge protector’, and turn the heat down to 350 and bake for about another 35 minutes – you want the base crust brown (which you can see using a Pyrex pie plate), you may also need to cover the whole top with piece of foil partway through baking, especially if you’ve made a lattice. Like all pies, this one cuts the best slices if allowed to cool to room temperature, which will take a couple of hours – enjoy!