I'm delighted to be hosting this week's recipe for Sweet Melissa Sundays. Although I've been a little lax with baking along with the rest of you due to time restraints for a few months, sometimes you just have to put down your foot and make the time for a pie that sounds as good as this. Also, after having been given the chance to host one of the recipes, not making the pie in the end is rather like inviting everyone to your home for a party and leaving the guests standing out on the lawn because you went out of town and didn't tell anyone. But having made the pie, I'm thinking I might still leave the guests out on the lawn because I would be too busy devouring the pie in kitchen to answer the door.
Pies have always been a bit of a culinary catastrophe in my house, at least for my poor sister, because when she was growing up she would never be able to enjoy a piece of pie since they were always missing something. My mother would either eat all of the crust and leave the filling, or I would eat all of the filling and leave the crust. The most unfortunate part of this was that my mom and I NEVER did this on the same pie. Didn't matter what type of pie we had, it would either be missing the filling or the crust depending on how got to it first before my sister had a chance to eat a piece. But this pie would have been the one that finally appealed to all of us at the same time. Which is nothing short of a culinary miracle in my family. It is just that delicious. Between the gingersnap crust and the combination of sweet and slight tart filling, it is the pie that would have finally ended my sister's long standing drought if we were all still living under the same roof.
Given the fact that I could not find fresh or frozen cranberries at the store as I was told by a clerk that they were out of season and I had my doubts about using canned cranberries, I substituted fresh raspberries for the cranberries. And considering raspberries were always my mom's favorite thing to snack on, it was a nice way to remember her and her love of all things pie today. I did also go with a frozen gluten free pie crust instead of using one of Melissa's recipes because we're trying to go gluten free in the house and for convenience I went with store bought gluten free gingersnap cookies because trying to make more than one recipe today was just not going to happen.
I loved loved loved the gingersnap crumble. And despite the fact that using raspberries made it a little difficult to cut the pie because it made the pie a tiny bit more watery (has nothing to do with the fact that I dug into the pie long before it cooled to room temperature of course) I thought the combination of pear and raspberry was perfect. I would totally made this again, maybe with cranberries, definitely with this combination today. Then again, I think skipping the pie crust and making a crumble from this with just the filling and topping would be sublime, especially with a huge dollop of whipped cream on top.
I think my only mistake was removing the pie a little early so the pears will still a little firm but it was still quite enjoyable.
Rating: A+. This one for me is a keeper.
Pear Cranberry (or Raspberry) Pie with Gingersnap Crumble
from: The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
1 cup all purpose (we used gluten free with great success) flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 pound gingersnaps, approximately 10 cookies, crushed
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Pear Cranberry (or Raspberry) Filling
2 lbs ripe bosc pears (approx 6) peeled, cored and quartered, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups raspberries (or fresh/frozen cranberries)
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/t tsp salt
Before beginning - preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and place rack in bottom third of oven.
To Prepare the Pie Crust
Roll pie dough out into a round 12 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Gently fit into 9 inch pie late. Fold edges under and crimp. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
To Make the Crumble
- In Medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, gingersnaps, ginger and salt.
- Stir in melted butter.
To Make the Filling
- In medium bowl, combine pears, raspberries (or cranberries), zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix gently. If using raspberries,they will pretty much disintegrate at this point and turn the pears pink.
- In small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir sugar mixture into fruit mixture.
- Pour fruit mixture into unbaked pie shell.
- Sprinkle gingersnap crumble on top of fruit mixture.
- Place pie pan on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until juices are bubbling and thick. remove to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before serving. Pie is best eaten the day it is made.