Sunday, July 25, 2010
After 20 months of Mr. B working and living almost 2,000 miles away from home, Mr. B and I have decided to go ahead and sell our house here in S.E. Texas, move the family close to his employment, and rent while continuing our search for the right home. Since our house is officially up for sale, I have been and will continue to cook from my pantry stores. I'd like to use up as much of our "stock" as possible before packing up to move. With this in mind, today, I decided to use up one of the quarts of pear pie filling I have stored and bake a beautiful pear pie.
I have gleaned several resources for this pear pie. For the decorative top crust, I was inspired by the stunning fruit pie photo found on pg. 63 of "Taste of Home's" Aug./Sept. 2010 publication. My pie crust recipe is adapted from the 1st recipe found on pg. 182 in "Amish Cooking" by Pathway Publishers - this is , by far, the BEST pie crust I've ever eaten. The pear pie filling is adapted from the Apple Pie Filling recipe found on pg. 91 of the "Ball Blue Book of Preserving". Below is my pear pie recipe:
Pear Pie Filling (adapted from Apple Pie Filling pg. 91, Ball Blue Book of Preserving)
Yield: about 3 quarts
6 lb. pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbls. lemon juice
Toss pear slices in a small amount of lemon juice to prevent darkening. Combine the sugar, flour and spices. Drain the pears; stir into the sugar mixture. Let stand until juices begin to flow, about 30 minutes. Stir in 2 tbls. lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Ladle pie filling into sterilized quart jars, leaving 1/2 in. head space, remove air bubbles, top with lids and screw on bands. Place in boiling water canner, fill with hot water 2 in. over lids. Cover and bring to a rolling boil. Boil 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Place hot jars on cooling racks and allow to cool down to room temperature. You should hear the "ping" of the lids sealing as the jars cool down. Label, date and store in a cool dry place for up to one year.
Pie Crust (adapted from pg. 182, Amish Cooking by Pathway Publishers)
Yield: 2 single crust pies OR 1 double crust pie
2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. vegetable shortening
5 Tbls. ice cold water
1 tsp. white vinegar
Sift the flours, spices and salt into a medium sized bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until mixture forms course crumbs. Beat the egg; add the water and vinegar. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured pastry cloth. Gently kneed the dough, 3-4 times (DO NOT kneed the dough excessively). Divide the dough in half. Form the halves into disks and roll out, using a cloth covered rolling pin, until it is about 2 inches larger than the lip of your pie plate. "Roll" the dough around the rolling pin, transfer to the edge of the pie plate and "unroll" the dough into the pie plate. Repeat with other half of dough.
Assembling the Pear Pie
Prepare the above pie crust recipe. Line the pie plate with bottom half of the pie crust. Pour 1 quart of pear pie filling into bottom crust. Top the pie filling with other half of the crust. Trim and crimp edges, cut vent holes, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 -40 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown.
Note: to make the decorative top shown in the above photo, after rolling out the top crust, cut it into 4 1/2 inch and 2 1/2 inch long "petal" shaped strips. From the middle of the pie, fan the 4 1/2 inch strips out to the edge of the pie plate. "Fill in" the spaces by fanning the 2 1/2 inch strips around the pie. Cut a few small round "disks" and place them on the center to resemble the center of a flower. There is no need to cut steam vents into this decorative top crust as it is not a "solid" crust. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and bake as directed above.
Yield: 6 large slices, 8 medium slices, or 10 small slices