By Emily Malloy
Our exclusive Theology of Home Thanksgiving Menu is still underway! Today, we continue on the path of sweetness with a delicious fruit pie that takes a fresh spin on tradition.
This recipe was a fun, collaborative effort here at Theology of Home. In a conversation about family traditions for Thanksgiving, I mentioned how my mom always bakes a Colonial pear pie at Thanksgiving. The gals said they had never eaten a pear pie before. Then Carrie made the suggestion of creating a version with a nod to the popular bourbon and pear cocktail.
Adding the warmth of bourbon to baked goods was extremely popular in the foodie world in the not so distant past. I was able to recall many recipes of bourbon brownies, chocolate cake, and the like, but I couldn't bring to mind any folks baking a pear-bourbon pie. So, it was a fun challenge to create something fresh and new with a nod to my childhood.
The lifelong tradition of my mom's Colonial pear pie turned collaborative team effort is a beautiful analogy of Thanksgiving, I think. It's the gathering of folks and ideas that make the day so wonderful, as I discussed in the introductory post of this series on the Joy of the Gathering Place: The Thanksgiving Table.
As mentioned in our recent pumpkin pie post, we have begun our comprehensive menu with desserts because of the ability to make pies ahead and freeze! Freezing fruit pies is a slightly different process than custards, so be sure to check it out. (More on the steps of this process below.)
Yields: 8-10 Servings
Time: 2+ hours
For the Filling---
2 pie crusts, store bought or homemade recipe from below** (one for the bottom, one for the top)
4 pounds semi-ripened Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and sliced to 1/4 inch thickness
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
Egg wash: 1 lightly beaten large egg and turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Directions for the pie:
1. In a large bowl, combine pears, sugar, flour, vanilla, lemon juice, bourbon, salt, and spices in a bowl. Stir until evenly coated. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven 375*. Prepare your pie dish with the pie crust bottom, gently pressing it into place. Set aside.
3. Prepare the top crust layer, making sure there is some sort of venting available for the filling as it cooks. Feel free to make a lattice, punch out decorations, or do traditional and simple venting cuts with scissors.
4. Pour filling into the prepared pie dish, scatter the cubes of butter on top of the filling, and top with the second pie crust.
5. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle a little sugar on top.
6. Place on a baking sheet and place into the preheated oven for about 60 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
7. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool one hour before slicing.
**For the crust, yields 2 pie crusts--
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 to 3/4 cup ice water
Directions for the crust:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
2. Add half of the cubed butter and using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand.
3. Add the remaining butter cubes and continue rubbing it into the flour mixture, but this time it does not need to be fully incorporated, some little specks of butter makes for a flaky crust.
4. Add lemon juice and 1/4 cup of ice water, mixing and fluffing the mixture with your hands. When the mixture lightly holds together, you are finished. If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water by the tablespoon.
5. Separate the dough into two discs and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour before using.
6. When ready to use, lightly flour your work surface and roll until the disc is 2 to 3" wider than your pie dish. Gently lay it into your pie dish and you are ready to go!
How to Bake Your Pie Ahead of Time and Store it in the Freezer:
If you want to bake this pie ahead of time and store it in the freezer before Thanksgiving, there are a few ways to do it to ensure your pie retains its glorious freshness.
1. Baking the pie in a disposable aluminum pie dish ensures it freezes more quickly and that ice won't form on the crust that, once thawed, can lead to the dreaded "soggy bottom".
2. Once the pie is fully baked, place it into the freezer uncovered.
3. Once the pie is completely frozen, wrap the pie several times, generously, with plastic wrap. And to be sure to fend off ice crystals from even the most freezing of freezers, place into an extra-large freezer resealable bag.
4. Thaw your pie at room temperature for one hour unwrapped, then place into the oven on the big day at 375*F for about 30 minutes or until warm.