Saturday, October 3, 2009
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
6 perfectly ripe, fresh pears*
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger (I bet ginger-in-a-jar would be better!)
1 1/2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
3 tablespoons plus one teaspoon orange juice
1 pie crust**
Combine crumb topping ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or rub it in with your fingertips. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs that clump together easily.
Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler. Slice them, discarding the cores. Put pear slices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, salt, nutmeg, ginger, orange juice, and tapioca. Pour over pears and toss to coat slices. Cut strips of aluminum foil about one to two inches wide and use them to cover the edge of your pie crust. Put pear mixture into the pie crust, mounding pears in the center. Pat the crumb topping over the pear filling. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. At this point, cover the pie with a tent of aluminum foil and bake for 25 more minutes. Place on a cooling rack and gently remove the foil strips.Serve with really good vanilla ice cream.
*You can tell that a pear is ripe by pressing around the stem with your thumb. If there is a little give, the pear is ripe. To speed up the ripening process, place the pears in a paper bag, roll the top down, and forget about them for a couple of days.
**I used to make my own pie crust, but then I discovered Marie Callender's frozen pie crusts. I think they're really good. They are much better than the frozen pie crusts I grew up with (Sorry, Mom). And so much easier than mixing and rolling out pie crust. I know there are purists who will never agree (my brother-in-law the award-winning pie maker). To them, I say go ahead and make your own. It probably is better.