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Fresh Pear Pie with Dried Cherries
and Brown Sugar Streusel



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Fresh Pear Pie with Dried Cherries
and Brown Sugar Streusel

By Nicole Rees
From Fine Cooking #101

Fine Cooking - One Year Subscription 

Serves 8

"A hint of spice lets the delicate flavor of the pears
shine through, while the dried cherries are a welcome
alternative to traditional raisins.”

For the streusel:
4-1/2 ounces (1 cup) unbleached
all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted
butter, melted

For the filling:
3 pounds ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears
(5 or 6 medium), peeled and cored,
cut lengthwise into 8 wedges and
then crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
(about 7 cups)
1-1/2 tablespoons. fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/8 ounces (1/4 cup) unbleached
all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup dried tart cherries,
coarsely chopped
1 blind-baked All-Butter Piecrust
(recipe follows)

Position a rack in the center of the oven, set a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the streusel In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, blend the butter into the flour mixture. The mixture will be moist. Set aside.
Make the filling In a large bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice. In
a small bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the sugar mixture to the pears and toss well to combine. Stir in the cherries.
Mound the filling into the piecrust. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the
pear mixture, pressing the streusel between your fingers into small lumps
as you sprinkle.
Put the pie on the heated baking sheet and bake until the pastry is golden-brown and the filling is bubbly and thickened at the edges, 55 to 65 min-
utes. Rotate the pie halfway through baking, and if the pastry or streusel browns before the filling has thickened, loosely cover the top or edges of
the pie as needed with a pie shield or a sheet of aluminum foil.
Transfer to a rack and cool completely before serving. The pie can be
stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

All-Butter Piecrust
"A butter crust can be just as flaky as one made with lard if you make it by
hand, rubbing cold chunks of butter into the flour. This creates flakes of
butter, rather than lumps, that remain in the dough when you roll it. As
the crust bakes, the butter melts, creating steam pockets that leave behind
a flaky texture.”

Yields one 9-inch piecrust.

6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) unbleached
all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/8 teaspoon table salt
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) cold
unsalted butter, preferably European
style, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Make the dough Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a rubber spatula or a fork to combine. Add the butter to the bowl. Rub the cold chunks of butter between your fingertips, smearing the butter into the flour to create small (roughly 1/4-inch) flakes of fat.
Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over the flour mixture. Stir with the spatula or fork, adding 1 Tbs. more water if necessary, until the mixture forms a shaggy dough that’s moist enough to hold together when pressed between your fingers.
With well-floured hands, gently gather and press the dough together, and then form it into a disk with smooth edges. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour, but preferably 2 to 4 hours, before rolling.
Roll the dough Let the chilled dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly -- it should be cold and firm but not rock hard. Depending on how long the dough was chilled, this could take 5 to 20 minutes. When ready
to roll, lightly flour the countertop or other surface (a pastry cloth, silicone rolling mat, or parchment on a counter also works great) and position the rolling pin in the center of the dough disk. Roll away from you toward 12 o’clock, easing the pressure as you near the edge to keep the edge from becoming too thin. Return to the center and roll toward 6 o’clock. Repeat toward 3 and then 9 o’clock, always easing the pressure at the edges and picking up the pin rather than rolling it back to the center.
Continue to “roll around the clock,” aiming for different “times” on each pass until the dough is 13 to 14 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch
thick. Try to use as few passes of the rolling pin as possible. After every
few passes, check that the dough isn’t sticking by lifting it with a bench
knife (dough scraper). Reflour only as needed -- excess flour makes a
drier, tougher crust. Each time you lift the dough, give it a quarter turn
to help even out the thickness.
Line the pie plate Gently transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, prefer-ably metal, by folding it in half and unfolding it into the plate. Do not
stretch the dough as you line the pan, or it will spring back when baked.
Gently lift the outer edges of the dough to give you enough slack to line
the sides of the pan without stretching the dough.
Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch from the edge of the pan. Roll the dough under itself into a cylinder that rests on the edge of the pan.
Crimp the edge To crimp the edge, have one hand on the inside of the edge, and one hand on the outside, and use the index finger of the inside hand to push the dough between the thumb and index finger of the out-
side hand to form a U or V shape. Repeat around the edge of the pie plate, creating a crimped edge whose individual flutes are about an inch apart. As you are going along, if you notice that the edge is not perfectly symmetrical and that the amount of dough you’ll have to crimp seems sparse in places, take a bit of trimmed scrap, wet it with a drop or two of water, and attach
it to the sparse area by pressing it firmly into place.
Prick the sides and bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate
until firm, about 1 hour or overnight. This will relax the dough and help
prevent the edges from caving in.
Blind bake the crust Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat
the oven to 425 degrees F. Line the chilled piecrust with foil and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes; remove the foil and the beans or weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake
until the bottom looks dry but is not quite done and the edges are light golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Let cool on a rack while you prepare
the filling.

Make Ahead Tips This pie dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight or frozen (before or after rolling) for up to 3 months. Simply transfer the dough to the refrigerator the night before you plan to make
pie, and it’ll be ready to go.


“Of course you can buy a ready-made pie shell,
but it’s a shame not to have the know-how yourself.”

- Julia Child, in "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom"

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