CALIFORNIA BARTLETT PEAR PIE
6 to 7 medium, ripe but firm California Bartlett pears
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp brandy (preferably pear brandy)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp cornstarch
prepared pie crust (see recipe below)
Peel, quarter and core pears. Cut each quarter into 3 even slices and place in a bowl with sugars, brandy and salt. With a small, sharp paring knife, carefully cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pears and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a colander over a heavy-bottomed saucepan and pour pears into colander. When juices have collected in the saucepan, set pears aside. Place saucepan over medium heat and allow juices to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer vigorously until juices have become syrupy and caramel colored (about 8 minutes) then remove from heat. Meanwhile, toss pears with lemon zest and cornstarch until cornstarch is no longer visible. Pour caramelized juice over pears, toss well and pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Cover fruit with the other pie crust, cut vents and place in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Place pie on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for approximately 45 to 50 minutes, until juices are bubbling through the vents and the fruit feels soft but not mushy when tested with a knife. Edges may have to be protected with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent over-browning. Cool for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve at room temperature.
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
7 to 8 tbsp ice-cold water
Cut butter into medium chunks and toss with flour and salt in a small bowl. Place mixture in a food processor and place in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and use the pulse button to process the mixture, stopping when butter chunks are the size of large crumbs. Place in a bowl and dribble the ice water over mixture slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon or using your fingers, just until dough comes together. Divide, form into two balls and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling out.
Nutrients per serving: calories 466.5; protein 4.5g; fat 23.9g; carbohydrate 58.9g; dietary fiber 4.2g; cholesterol 62.1mg; sodium 297.2mg
California Pear Advisory Board http://www.calpear.com