Brown Butter Apple and Pear Pie

I feel like I may say this with a lot of pies, but I’m serious this time.

This is my favourite fall/winter pie ever.  It’s official, we can all go home.

By go home I mean to make this pie.  I was brainstorming different ways to use winter fruit that wasn’t citrus because I was itching for a unique fruit pie while patiently waiting for the bounty of spring and summer fruits.  At first I thought, why not try a combination of apples and pears (duh)?  Then I thought, brown butter.

Brown butter in a pie.  The fact that I hadn’t done this before was crazy to me.  Initially I thought of pairing it with bourbon and vanilla, but honestly forgot while making the filling because I licked my finger and was blown away.  The brown butter shines in this recipe, and the acid of the fruit balances it out perfectly.

I’m not kidding, you guys need to make this pie before the excitement of rhubarb consumes us all and we forget about apples and pears.

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Crust Ingredients

  • 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)

Filling Ingredients

  • 3 Bartlett pears, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar, plus 1 tsp for bottom of pie crust
  • 1/4 cup butter, browned
  • 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour, plus 1 tsp for bottom of pie crust
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • Pinch cardamom
  • A few grinds of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Egg wash to coat (1 egg and 1 tsp water mixed) and raw sugar for sprinkling

Steps

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.

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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.

IMG_8622Fold 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.

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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 and apple slices, lemon juice and granulated sugar with your hands and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.

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To brown the butter, place butter in a pan over medium heat and allow to melt, bubble and foam, stirring occasionally.  Once the butter starts turning a dark golden brown and smells nutty, remove from heat and pour into a separate bowl, allowing to cool slightly.

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This butter is still very foamy but you can see the toastiness peeking through

Drain excess liquids from the apple and pear mixture.  Add brown butter to fruit and toss with your hands.  Mix brown sugar, flour, spices and salt in a separate bowl and pour on top of fruit, tossing with your hands until fully 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 pie shell to absorb excess moisture.  Carefully arrange fruit in 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.

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