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Very Cranberry-Pear Pie (2004)
This alternative to the traditional apple pie comes from Annapolis cookbook author Ken Haedrich. It's a lovely blend of tart and sweet and is as pleasing to the eye as to the palate.
(serves 8 to 10)
1 pie crust
3 cups fresh cranberries, picked over for stems
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 large ripe pears, unpeeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup walnut or pecan halves
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces
Prepare the pastry and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour. On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the pastry into a 13-inch circle with a floured rolling pin.
Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2 -inch deep-dish pie pan, center and peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into a short upstanding ridge. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Combine the cranberries and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the cranberries are well-chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the pears, lemon juice and orange zest.
Mix well and set aside for 20 minutes to juice. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar with the cornstarch, cinnamon and cardamom. Add to the fruit and mix well. Turn the filling into the chilled pie shell. Smooth the top with your hands to even it out. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the crumb topping. Put the nuts, sugars, flour and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles medium-fine crumbs.
Transfer to a large bowl, then rub the crumbs between your fingers to make large, butter crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Carefully dump the topping in the center of the pie, spreading the crumbs evenly over the surface with your hands. Tamp them down lightly.
Return the pie to the oven, placing it so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces front. Just in case, slide a large aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any spills.
Continue to bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, 30 minutes to 35 minutes. If necessary, cover with loosely tented aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes to 15 minutes to keep the crumbs from browning too much. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.--From Ken Haedrich's "Pie" (Harvard Common Press, 2004, $37.95)
Per serving (1/10 of pie): 325 calories; 3 grams protein; 16 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 46 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber; 24 milligrams cholesterol; 63 milligrams sodium
October 14, 2004