Not to exaggerate, but this pie is going to warm your soul and make you ok with the fact that we’re still a month or two away from spring pies.
This winter I’ve really started to appreciate pear pies – I think they’re definitely underrated and they’re so versatile. Pears go perfectly with chocolate, spices like ginger and as evidenced by this pie, bourbon.
I was worried the bourbon might hit you in the face based on how the filling smelled, but it melds so well with the pears and as you eat more and more, it gets better and better. The maple flavour is very subtle and nicely complements the bourbon as well.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup butter (straight from the fridge, cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup vinegar (I use cider vinegar, mix it in the water)
- 6-7 pears – peeled and thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar, plus 1 tsp for bottom of pie crust
- 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp flour, plus 1 tsp for bottom of pie crust
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- A few grinds of pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp bourbon
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Egg wash to coat (1 egg and 1 tsp water mixed) and raw sugar for sprinkling
To make the crust, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, “cut” in the butter. This means you’re almost mashing the butter into the flour with the blender, ensuring all butter is covered in flour until the butter pieces are about the size of peas or a bit bigger.
Then, splash in a bit of your water mixture (2-3 tablespoons) and mix it around with your hand. Continue to add a little at a time and mix and squish with your hand until a large dough ball forms. If you need to get a bit more binding, add a bit of water to your fingers to help it along. Don’t feel compelled to use all the water, mix it in until just combined and the dough is holding together. Cut the dough ball into two halves and flatten into disks. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Remove from fridge and let sit for 5-10 minutes so the dough doesn’t crack. Roll out each disk on a floured surface until 12-13 inches in diameter.
Fold the rolled out crust in half and set into a buttered 9 inch pie pan. Unfold gently and settle the bottom of the crust into the corners.
Roll out the other dough disk (for your lattice) and refrigerate both the crust lined pan and rolled out dough for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl, toss together pear slices, lemon juice and granulated sugar with your hands and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, spices and salt. Drain excess moisture from pear mixture and sprinkle sugar mixture on top. Toss with your hands until pears are evenly coated.
Sprinkle bourbon, maple syrup and vanilla on top of pears and stir gently with a wooden spoon until incorporated.
Preheat oven to 425F. Remove pie pan and rolled out dough from the fridge. Sprinkle 1 tsp of flour and sugar on the bottom of the rolled out dough to absorb excess moisture. Carefully pour pears into pie shell and arrange so it is evenly spread with a slight mound in the middle. Cut rolled out pie dough into lattice/desired top and arrange as desired.
Brush egg wash on lattice and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake on the lowest oven rack on a baking sheet for 20 minutes until crust begin to set and brown. Reduce heat to 375F and move pie to middle rack. Bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 2-3 hours.