Spiced Apple and Pear Pie
It’s that time of the year again and if you live down here in the south then you’ve been waiting through one heck of a hot summer for this day. I’m of course talking about autumn being here! Yesterday was indeed the first day of fall. Can you feel the cooler weather? Can you see those beautiful orange and red leaves taking over the trees? Are you bundled up by a fire sipping a cup of hot cocoa? Of course not. Neither am I because it is still ninety-something outside. That doesn’t mean we can’t pretend!
And by pretend I mean celebrate. Why celebrate, you ask? Why not celebrate? Celebrations mean more delicious treats! To celebrate the arrival of autumn I decided to pick some fall fruit and flavors to play with. In a conversation with a good friend, pears and apples came up, a few times. Even though we both use these fruit year round, there is something special with using these fruit during fall, especially when paired with spices–and you don’t get more autumn then a spiced fruit pie. Now, my friend is a vegan, so she probably isn’t going to be too happy that I took her idea and threw butter and creme into it, but when making a sauce the combination of the two is just too perfect to pass up! Of course, because I want my vegan friends to enjoy pie too, a couple substitutions should give you a delicious vegan spiced apple and pear pie (look for the parenthetical statements in the instructions on how to modify this recipe to be vegan).
If you’ve ever been to a grocery store, one with a decent produce section, then you’ve noticed that there are millions of varieties of apples. Ok, so maybe not a million, but there are a lot. I usually go straight to my favorite, the granny smith for snacking and baking, but for this pie I wanted to use a slightly sweeter apple since I was pairing it with pears–no pun intended… though yay puns. I went with fuji and braeburn this time around. Fuji apples are sweeter and braeburns are sweet with a hint of tartness. As for the pears I went with Bosc which is great for baking and then comice–these pears are soft and difficult to work with but so buttery and flavorful that they dissolve into the sauce to give it a delicious pear flavor. You can go with your favorites if you have varieties you prefer, but I suggest trying this combination. It’s a delicious pairing–there’s that pun again.
The process to make this pie is a lot like my Apple Pie with a Butter Rum Cream Sauce and with this pie you again get a delicious sauce, this time without the rum though; the pears add all the extra flavor needed. In my mind, there is nothing better than a slice of pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream all covered in a delicious warm sauce.
You’ll of course need a pie crust, and here at Chasing Delicious, since pie crust is a vital process to a lot of baking, I house the pie crust recipe on its own page, here. (Though this pie crust is not vegan, or even vegetarian, it can easily be made that way by substituting the butter and lard with vegetable shortening or a mix of shortening and vegan butter subsitute).
3 pounds apples – about six apples (I used half fuji, half braeburn)
2 pounds pears – abou six pears (I used half bosc, half comice)
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1/4th teaspoon cinnamon
1/4th teaspoon ginger
1/4th tablespoon freshly ground nutmeg
Zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup cream
3 tablespoons melted butter
1. Peel and core fruit. Slice the fruit into 1/4 inch slices. Before slicing, cut each fruit in half and place cut side on the board to ensure the fruit and your knife wont slip anywhere it shouldn’t be… like to your finger.
2. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the fruit and cook, stirring frequently over medium heat for five minutes. (Remember how I mentioned this pie could easily be turned vegan? Substitute the butter with a little applesauce and a little apple juice).
3. Measure the sugar and spices–ginger, nutmeg & cinnamon–into a bowl. If you have fresh nutmeg, grind it into the bowl eyeing it to your best ability. You can use bottled nutmeg, though I definitely suggest checking out fresh nutmeg. It is delicious!
4. Add the sugar, spices and lemon zest to the pot with the apples and butter (or apple sauce and juice). Stir and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly, about ten minutes.
5. Add the cream to the apples and sauce and cook until the sauce has thickened, about five minutes. (If you’re looking for a vegan pie you can leave out this step all together)
6. Strain the apples from the sauce, reserving the sauce. If the sauce is very thin, add it back to the pot and boil down until thicker.
7. Roll out the bottom crust and place into the pie crust. Use a portion of the melted butter to brush over the dough before adding the filling (you can sprinkle sugar over the bottom if you don’t want to use butter). Add the filling.
8. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the apples and pears before topping the pie.
9. Top the pie with the other half of the crust. You can lattice it, or lay one large piece over like I did here. Be sure to have holes in the top to allow steam to escape, otherwise the filling may become soft and not delicious. If you have left over dough feel free to get creative. I cut a little leaf out and placed it on top to symbolize fall.
10. Brush the top of the pie crust with the rest of the melted butter and bake for 1 hour in a preheated oven at 375 degrees. (Anybody know of a vegan substitute for butter for helping a crust brown? If so please let me know, I’d love to learn something new!)
The crust should be golden, and the filling bubbly when you pull it out. Let the pie cool slightly, as it will be way to hot to enjoy just yet. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the warm reserved sauce.
Happy Autumn everyone!