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Course: Sweets
Keyword: Baking, Desserts, Fall, Fruit, Holidays, Pear Cranberry Pie, Thanksgiving

Pear Cranberry Pie: Reloaded

TOTAL TIME: 3 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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For the crust

  • 2 3/4 cups, approximately all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled
  • 6 tablespoons all-natural cranberry juice (not cocktail), chilled

For the filling

  • 3 1/2 pounds pears (a mixture of Anjou and Bosc)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 1 cup Just Cranberry Sauce, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Specialized Hardware

Food processor
Digital kitchen scale
9 1/2" x 2" tart pan with removable bottom (a wonderful multitasker)
TOTAL TIME: 3 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings


Crust procedure:

  • Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3-4 times. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks mealy, 5-6 times. Then, add the shortening and pulse until incorporated, another 3-5 pulses. Remove the lid and drizzle in the cranberry juice. Replace the lid and pulse until the mixture begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Dump the mixture onto a clean surface and squeeze together with your hands to form a smooth ball. Divide the ball in half and press each into a disk about 1-inch thick. Wrap each dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (You can refrigerate longer, even overnight, but the dough will have to sit at room temp for 15 minutes to be malleable enough to roll.)

Filling procedure:

  • Peel, core, and slice pears into 1/8-inch slices and move to a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and toss with your hands to thoroughly coat. Set aside for 45 minutes, tossing again halfway through, then transfer to a colander set over a large bowl and set aside to drain for 45 minutes.
  • Transfer the accumulated juices (you should have about 1/4 cup) to a small saucepan and reduce over medium heat to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Stir the remaining sugar into the pear slices along with the Just Cranberry Sauce, tapioca flour, lemon juice, salt, and thyme. Set aside.

Assembly procedure:

  • Crank your oven to 400℉ and move a rack to the lowest position.
  • Place a 12" x 24" piece of wax paper on a clean work surface and lightly dust with flour. Remove the dough disks from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temp, about 15 minutes. Discard the plastic wrap from one and place the dough on the wax paper. Dust with a bit more flour and roll into a 12" x 12" circle. Carefully peel the wax paper off and place the dough into the tart pan, gently pressing it into the edges. (See the note on dough movement below.)
  • Pour the pear mixture into the bottom of the pan, then roll out the second dough disk in the same manner as the first. Place this dough over the pears and seal the edges of the pie, trimming any excess dough. Make a few slits in the top of the crust with a paring knife to give steam a way out. Park the pie in a foil-lined sheet pan and brush the top of the crust with the reduced juice. Bake for 1 hour.
  • Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and rest for at least 4 hours before removing from the tart pan and slicing.
Note on dough movement:I'm really bad at moving doughs once they're rolled, and my hands run hot so here's how I roll...so to speak: After rolling out the dough, I slide a cookie sheet under it. I position the flat, removable bottom of the tart pan and center it on the dough. While holding the round in place, I flip the whole thing over, remove the cookie sheet, and peel the wax paper away, leaving the dough atop the round. (You can't see the round at this point because the dough is wider.) I then gently fold back the edges of the dough so that the edge of the round is revealed. I then slide the round off the counter and drop it into the tart pan. Finally, I unfold the edge of the dough and mold it into the side of the pan. Make sense? I sure hope so.
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