Bologna to Bolognese: Adventures With Food

Food is necessary. Food is fun. Food is an adventure!

My name is Shannon and this is my adventure, my love affair with food.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Your Grandmother's Apple Pie

What could be better than hot Apple pie fresh from the oven? Apple Pearberry pie fresh from the oven!

Growing up my mother always kept a colander of fresh fruit in the kitchen ready for after school snacks or to add to a school lunch. When some of the fruit neared the end of it's fresh shelflife she would slice it up and dry it in the dehydrator for a different sort of snack.

With this in mind it should come as no surprise that a bright spot in my kitchen and one of my favorite purchases is the bright chrome fruit bowl I keep filled with nature's bounty year round. Unfortunatly, not every fruit is destined to be munched right from the bowl and when I find myself with a plethora of fruit about to go the way of the DoDo I often turn to one of my favorite solutions, pie. Pie is a glorious way to repurpose fresh fruit, and so simple and comforting. Recently I found myself with a few more apples and pears than I could eat and a bit of research led to a plan for a Pear and Apple pie. My concern was that most of the recipes I came across called for all the same spices you would find in an apple pie and I felt if I used those the delicate flavor of the pear would be lost altogether.

I asked some fellow bakers online for suggestions and did some more research and some tasting and smelling around the kitchen. I played with a few different ideas, and allowed a third fruit to jump in the mix, and viola! The Apple Pearberry Pie was born.

Apple Pearberry Pie


Pear Syrup:

2 Bartlett Pears Cubed
1/2 cup Sugar


In a small saucepan combine sugar, pears and just enough water to cover the pears. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer until pears become very soft. Transfer the pears to a seive and press out as much juice as possible. Discard pulp. Allow the remaining liquid to simmer untikl thickened. Remove from heat and reserve until neaded for the pie filling.


Pastry for 2 crust pie (I buy Pillsbury's from the grocer's cooler)
3 Apples cored and cubed
3 Pears cored and cubed
3-6 large strawberries
3/8 cup flour (plus some for dusting)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp Vanilla

*** (less is better than more if you are unsure of these flavors, these are STRONG spices)

1/4 tsp ground Star Anise
1/2 Tsp Ground Cardamom
scant 1/4 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ginger (powdered)
a dash of nutmeg and ground black pepper


In a large mixing bowl combine the cubed apples and pears with the sugar, spices, and lemon juice. (Make sure to dress the fruit with the lemon juice quickly to prevent oxidation). Allow this mixture to sit for a minute while you preheat the oven to 450 and place 1 half of the pie crust in the bottom of the pie pan. Add the vanilla and strawberries and mix well. Next gently fold in the flour and coat the fruit well. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pie dish and pour on the pear syrup taking care to distribute it evenly. Dust the top of the fruit with a bit more flour and top with the second half of the pie crust dough. cut slits for ventilation and place pie in oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 and bake for 60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and flakey. To keep crust edges from burning allow them to brown then wrap with tin foil for the remaining baking time. Upon removing the pie from the oven allow to cool on a wire baking rack for at least two hours. (I find that while delicious anytime, this pie improves by being allowed to sit overnight).

A note regarding the spices used in this recipe:

I wanted a more complex and unusual flavor profile for this pie and all of the spices used can be quite overwhelming if used in great quantity. If you are unsure you can reduce the amount of any or substitute a more common spice of your choosing. I found this combination to be different, refreshing and delicious. If however you just can't have a pie without Cinnamon, or can't abide the flavor of Star Anise change it up. Just remember to have fun and enjoy!

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