There’s not much more beautiful than a holiday dessert table adorned with an assortment of pies, am I right? While I love experimenting with some different types of desserts for the holidays (see: pumpkin gingerbread trifle), pies just feel so traditional and cozy. My personal favorite trio is the must-have pumpkin pie, a Dutch apple pie (mmm crumble topping!) and pecan, which is probably my very favorite pie in the whole wide world. Even though I have my preferred favorites, I can’t pass up new varieties when given the opportunity. I saw the recipe for this cranberry-ginger pear pie nearly a year ago, and the combination of flavors struck a chord with me. I thought of it recently and dug up the recipe; I’m so glad that I did! It’s so different, which makes for a wonderful surprise at the holiday table.
Pears are one of my favorite fruits, but, to my own detriment, I haven’t made a habit of doing much baking with them. This pie was a fabulous change of pace; the flavor and texture of the pears is fantastic, the cranberries give it a slight tang and a gorgeous pink hue, and the three types of ginger really pack a punch. I particularly love the crystallized ginger mixed into the crumb topping; so much delicious zing!
Do you stick to traditional pies at Thanksgiving, or do you like to venture outside of the box? What are some of your favorites?
I can’t wait to dig my fork into buttery, flaky crust next week!
Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
This is a quintessential fall pie - pears, cranberries and three different types of ginger make for a fabulous dessert.
For the Crust:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling:
3 pounds Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
8 ounces (2 cups) cranberries
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
For the Topping:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1. Make the Dough: Put the flour, sugar and salt in the processor bowl of a food processor and pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of water as you continue to pulse, adding more water a tablespoon at a time if necessary; stop pulsing when the dough just starts to come together. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. The dough can also be frozen for up to 2 months and thawed in the refrigerator.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, and gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan and against the sides. Leave the overhanging dough in place and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until completely chilled and firm.
3. Remove the dough-lined pie plate from the refrigerator and trim the overhanging dough to ½-inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Tuck the overhang under itself, making the folded edge flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the dough, then transfer the dough-lined plate to the freezer for 1 hour before using.
4. Make the Filling: In a large bowl, toss the pears with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave until the pears turn translucent and release their juices, 4 to 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Uncover and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
5. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
6. Prepare the Topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, crystallized ginger, ground ginger and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture is completely moistened. Let cool completely, about 10 minutes.
7. Finish the Filling & Assemble the Pie: Combine the cranberries, remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, and fresh ginger in a food processor and pulse until the cranberries are roughly chopped, about 5 pulses. Drain the cooled pears and discard the liquid. Return the pears to the now-empty bowl and add the cranberry mixture, stirring to combine. Transfer the mixture to the chilled dough-lined pie plate. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the pear filling, breaking apart any large clumps.
8. Bake the Pie: Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the juices are bubbling and the topping is a deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely (about 4 hours), before serving. The pie can be stored, covered, at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Note: Frozen cranberries can be thawed and substituted for fresh cranberries.
(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)