RECIPE: Apple and Pear Pie with Pecan Custard and Caramel Drizzle
In practicing for the Harvest Jam pie contest, I came up with this combo for a pie. If I made this over again, I would precook the sliced fruit for the top in a pan with butter and some spice so that they are soft. Because they are on top, they don't quite soften up like they should while cooking. So consider that when making this.
Apple and Pear Pie with Pecan Custard and Caramel Drizzle
1 1/4 cups pastry flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, chopped in tablespoon chunks and frozen for 30 minutes until solid
3 Tbsp. chilled apple juice (more if necessary) or chilled water
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 medium Bartlett pears
1/2 Tbsp. butter
dash of cardamom
3 baking apples (mix this up if you wish, I used 2 granny smith, 1 golden delicious. Golden delicious gets more "apple saucy" and grannys hold their shape more, so you get a little bit of both. You can do all Johnathans, too. Make it yours)
1/4 cup darkly toasted pecans, ground in the food processor until a "butter"
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
Caramel sauce (1/2 for the bottom and 1/2 for the drizzle)
1 cup caramel topping
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. apple rum, bourbon or apple juice
Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse in the frozen butter cubes until the butter is the size of large peas (use a fork to jostle the flour so you can see the butter bits and gauge the size.) When properly pulsed, add the juice and vinegar as you gently pulse. Pulse until you can press the dough with your fingers and it comes together. If it is not doing that, add more liquid, 1/2 Tbsp. at a time and pulse until it does. Layer large saran wrap on a work surface and pour the mixture on the saran. Using the sides of the plastic wrap, press the dough together into a ball. Cover the ball with the plastic wrap and using your hand, press and shape the plastic ball into a flat disc. Chill disc in the fridge for an hour. Preheat oven to 400˚ and have a rack at the bottom of the oven with a foil-covered baking sheet on it. It will serve as a baking stone for the pie. Let it heat up with the oven.
Make the sauce and set aside: In a small saucepan, add the sauce ingredients until melted and combined. Set aside. If sauce hardens up as it sits, just heat it again to melt it and make it workable when you need to use it.
After and hour, roll out the dough between two lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap. Measure your rolled dough until you have a 1 inch overhang beyond the rim of your baking dish. Flip the dough into your dish and peel the plastic off as you press the dough into the pan. Crimp the edges, trimming as needed, and with the tines of fork, poke some holes on the bottom to let out air pockets. Chill crust for at least 30 minutes. Then, bake the crust for 10 minutes-or until a pale golden color. Let cool. Pour half the caramel sauce on the bottom of the crust. Set aside.
Make the filling: Reduce oven to 350˚. Pore, peel and slice all the fruit. Now, I left half a granny smith and half a Bartlett whole with skin on it to prepare for the top pinwheel. In a mixing bowl on medium speed, whip the eggs with the sugar and add the sour cream, pecan butter, flour. Then add the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. If your pears are not ripe (like always) toss them in a small saucepan with a pat of butter and a dash of cardamom and cook them until beginning to soften. Fold in the sliced fruit. Pour the fruit into the crust.
Slice thinly the reserved 1/2 pear and 1/2 apple with the skin on. Create a pinwheel on the top of the pie, beginning at the center and laying them outwards. Now, as I mentioned before, I would precook these as well with a little butter and sugar in a small saute pan so they will soften up. Then I would create the pinwheel with them. If you don't have time, make the pinwheel. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar, then I would tent the pie with tinfoil with steam holes to help cook the top pinwheel, then take the tent off the latter half of cooking. The issue I found is that the pinwheel, though pretty, needs to get cooked up evenly with the pie. So do what you must to achieve that.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick at the center comes out clean and edges are browned. Foil your crust or use a pie ring to protect the crust if it is browning too fast. Cool on a wire rack. Reheat the rest of your caramel sauce until you can drizzle it, and drizzle away on the top before serving. Get some vanilla ice cream and OH BABY!