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Lattice-Crust Pear Pie

July 14, 2014

All pies, all the time!

Today I’m sharing another pear dessert recipe that I made back in the fall – a more complex pie instead of an easy tart this time! Although honestly the pie isn’t that much more complicated, just possibly more intimidating if you’ve never made a lattice crust before. :)

The most important thing when making a lattice is to not let your dough get too warm. As soon as your dough warms up, it’ll get really soft and tear easily. Which means you need to keep your top dough piece in the fridge until just before rolling it out and topping the pie with it. It’s also definitely to your advantage to have a stiffer dough rather than a soft, easy-roll pie dough. Adding sugar to pie dough makes it softer, so I choose to leave it out for this recipe.

The second important thing is knowing how to properly weave the lattice so it doesn’t look like you just have strips of dough sitting on top of other strips. GimmeSomeOven has awesome step-by-step photos of how to weave the lattice right on top of the pie itself, so you’re not trying to do it on your counter and then transfer the whole thing over (which makes tearing way more likely).

This past November was the first year my coworkers have let me make something for my own birthday. Since one of my coworkers and I share a birthday, I was able to pass it off as making it for her and not really for me. :) They always thought it was weird that I actually wanted to make my own birthday dessert, but since I love baking and I love to eat the desserts I make, I didn’t think it seemed too weird to me! Pear pie sounds a bit unusual, and since I love things that are out of the ordinary, I’d been wanting to try this recipe from Gourmet Today for a while. It was delicious! The texture was similar to apple pie, but a small amount of nutmeg instead of cinnamon allowed the pear flavor to come through without being overwhelmed by spice. I’ll definitely be making this again in the fall!

Note that this recipe requires a 9½-inch deep dish pie plate rather than a standard 9-inch pie plate.

Lattice-crust pear pie

Serves 8

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2½  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½  sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1/4  cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 5 – 7  tablespoons ice water

Filling and assembly

  • 3  tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8  teaspoon salt
  • 2/3  cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2½  pounds ripe but firm Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, cut into 8 wedges each, and cored
  • 1  tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1  tablespoon milk

Directions

  1. Make the crust: Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a food processor (you can also use your fingers or a pastry blender) just until mixture resembles course meal with some small (roughly pea-sized) butter lumps. Drizzle 5 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse (or gently stir with a fork) until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water 1/2 tablespoon at a time, pulsing (or stirring) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
  2. Turn dough out onto a work surface. Divide dough into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all dough together and divide into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other. Form each portion into a ball and flatten into a 5-inch disk. If dough is sticky, dust lightly with additional flour. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling: Put a rack in middle of oven and put a large baking sheet on rack. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk together flour, nutmeg, salt, and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl. Add pears and lemon juice, tossing gently.
  4. Assemble and bake: Roll out larger piece of dough (keep remaining piece refrigerated) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into 9½-inch deep dish pie plate. Trim edges, leaving a ½-inch overhang. Refrigerate while you roll out dough for top crust.
  5. Roll out remaining piece of dough in same manner into a roughly 16-by-11-inch rectangle. Cut crosswise into 12 1-inch-wide strips with a pastry wheel or sharp knife.
  6. Spoon filling into shell. Weave a lattice pattern over pie with pastry strips. Trim edges of all strips close to edge of pie plate. Fold bottom crust up over edges of lattice and crimp edges. Brush lattice with milk and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar.
  7. Put pie on hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F, cover edges of pie with a pie shield or foil, and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes more.
  8. Cool pie on a rack to warm or room temperature, at least 2 hours.

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