Well, it may officially be spring, but here on Vancouver Island it still feels like I want to cosy up beside my roaring fire because of all the wet and damp weather we’ve had recently. I’m still thinking comfort food, so I don’t feel guilty including this recipe for brandied pear and cranberry pie. Doesn’t the name of this pie sound warm and appealing? Actually with the pretty pink hue of the cranberries one could think of spring colours, which should be showing up everywhere soon.
This pie has fantastic flavour with subtle spicing and the right amount of sweetness to offset the tangy cranberries. It’s reminiscent of mincemeat, but in a good way! Brandy makes everything taste better, but at the same time does not overwhelm the flavour.
When I was a young girl, I can remember going to receptions or get-togethers where one table would be filled with homemade pies spread all over them. Cherry, raisin, apple, blueberry were the most popular and mostly all double crust. Honestly, when would you ever see such a sight today with homemade pies? Sorry folks, Costco pies may be great in a pinch, but they can’t compare to the real thing!
Pears and cranberries are an unusual combination, but they are a dynamic duo! The pink and red of the cranberries adds a nice visual interest to the tender pears as well as a nice burst of flavour.
Did you know that fresh cranberries have very high antioxidant properties? Pears are an excellent source of fiber and full of vitamin C.
Pears do not seem to keep that well and should be consumed rather quickly after they ripen. This is mainly the reason that I thought of putting them into a pie. I hate to waste, and these pears were ready to go.
Pies are very satisfying to make and always take me back to memories of my mom in the kitchen. Just wait until you smell the delicious aroma from this pie baking! It will be very difficult to resist a slice especially when served with homemade ice-cream. Dare I say seconds will be a sure thing?
The all butter pie crust has a melt in your mouth texture, and a food processor whips it up pretty fast for a family get-together on the weekend.
Pears may not be your favourite fruit, but I bet you won’t be able to resist them once you taste this pie. Brandied pear and cranberry pie is an impressive dessert whether it is spring, summer, winter, or fall.
I served my pie with homemade vanilla brown sugar ice cream. I don’t have this particular ice cream recipe posted, but I do have a yummy rum and raisin ice cream recipe in the recipe archives you might like to try sometime for a delicious treat.
I tried freezing this baked pie and it tasted great once it was defrosted.
- 3 pounds ripe pears or 6 cups (I used 4 pears), peeled, cored and sliced ½ to ¾ inch thick
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen thaw a bit)
- ¼ cup brandy
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 double pie crust
- 1 beaten egg mixed well with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar for sprinkling over the top.
- BUTTER CRUST:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup cold butter cut into small chunks (1/2 inch cubes)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup ice cold water
- Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
- Place sliced pears into a bowl and sprinkle lemon juice over. Mix in well.
- In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt and spices and blend together. Add to the pear mixture and stir until combined. Add the cranberries and gently mix in.
- In a small saucepan, using medium heat, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then add the brandy and continue to stir for a minute or until it is starting to get bubbly.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
- Pour the pear/cranberry mixture into the bottom pie crust. Smooth down the pears if they are sticking out. Pour the brandy mixture over the pears and cranberries.
- Place the top crust over and trim excess of the ridge. Press the two edges together with a fork or pinch with fingers.
- Make three or four slits on the top of the crust to allow the steam to escape. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the water to create an egg wash. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the top with the egg wash mixture, smoothing it out so it doesn't pool too much.
- Sprinkle the top of the crust with a little granulated sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet to collect any juices.
- Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F. oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F. for 55-60 minutes or until the pie is golden and the filling juices are bubbling through the vents.
- Remove from the oven and place the pie on a rack to cool to room temperature. This allows the filling juices to firm up.
- BUTTER CRUST:
- In a food processor with a blade attachment, place the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse for a second or two to mix.
- Add the butter chunks and pulse for 12-15 times or until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the ice water with the machine running and work the dough until it just starts to hold together.
- Remove the mixture before it's a complete ball. Dump the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap or a lightly floured board. Form into a ball (using the plastic wrap can help to push the dough together). Remove the plastic wrap if using and cut the dough in two, weighing each piece to get equal sizes.
- Place one half in the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you roll out the other half onto a floured board into an 11 or 12 inch circle. Sometimes I use a large piece of parchment paper to cover over the top of the crust to make it easier to roll. Roll from the center of the dough outward toward the edge, lifting the dough and turning as you roll out the dough, until the dough is about ⅛ inch thick. Sprinkle a little flour over the top of the dough if needed to make it a bit easier to roll.
- Carefully transfer the crust into a 9 inch pie plate, taking care not to rip the dough or stretch it.
- Add the filling and place in the refrigerator while you roll out the other disk of dough.