I made this pie last Friday. Gal Smiley was having a terrible day. On the one hand, it was the Captain’s birthday, and he was getting all sorts of presents from his relatives, toys and games and art supplies all over. On the other hand, the Little Miss was improving at using the potty, which meant that she was getting chocolately treats all day long.
Trapped between toys and chocolate, Gal Smiley was triply unimpressed when her mother decided to waste all afternoon making horrible, awful, no-good pie. LIFE IS NOT FAIR.
Anyway. I decided to make a Pear Pie since I love pears, and I think they don’t show up in desserts often enough. I like my pears to be Bartletts, and to be very, very hard. That’s because we had a pear tree just beyond the back fence at my house when we were growing up, a leftover from when the area was a farm. The pears would appear in the late summer, tiny little things that were sour, unripe, and rock hard. My sisters and any visiting friends would hop the fence and grab a pear, then spend all afternoon gnawing on it. Good times.
So the pie, which by the way is from Company’s Coming Pies, started with the making a bottom crust:
This was, again, the best crust I’ve ever made. When I started this project I despaired of ever making any kind of progress, but these past few weeks I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it. At the very least, I no longer shake with fear and anger while making pastry, so I’d say that was a step in the right direction. This one was made with shortening, again, so I may never go back to lard. I’ve seen the light!
Then I continued with peeling and cutting up 7 Bartlett pears:
That’s an hour of my life, right there. Pears are somehow much more difficult to peel than apples. While I was cutting up the pears, I realized that they were really, really, hard. That’s good for eating (for me, at least), but I started to worry that they were not going to melt into soft sweetness inside the pie. I cut them quite thin to compensate.
So you toss the pear slices with 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and then dump that into the unbaked pie crust.
Then mix 1/4 cup corn syrup with 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, and pour that over the top of the pears. Around now is when I realized that yes, this is a dessert.
Now for the topping! Mix 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup butter or margarine (I cut them together with a pastry cutter). Sprinkle it over the top.
Then bake at 350 degrees on the bottom shelf 60 to 70 minutes until the pears are cooked. Here’s the result:
Now, this is where we took a turn for the worse, in that after 70 minutes, the pears were still quite crunchy and firm in there, as I feared. However, the crust was very brown and starting to burn, and since I don’t have one of those pastry tenter-protector things that is for cases like this, I had to take the pie out.
So the end result is this:
Yet another pie that looks really fantastic, but is only so-so to eat.
I was originally planning on gifting this pie to Pauline at Brightest Blue, as we have been trying to set up a pie exchange forever. Life got in the way last week, however, and by Friday I still couldn’t figure out a time to get over to her place, so I ended up just eating it. And good thing too, seeing as how it wasn’t my best effort.
And yet, I still ate it. Must be because the hard pears make me nostalgic.
I’d make this pie again, using riper pears (or, in an emergency situation, steaming them a bit first).
This week: I was planning on a tortiere, but Sir Monkeypants has poker, and the poker boys have come to expect a sweet pie on poker night. So I’ll make something dessert-like this week instead. Stay tuned!