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Monday, November 12, 2012

Apple & Pear Pie with Cornmeal Crust

My Dad is not a fluffy cake type of guy but I wanted to make him something special to eat on his birthday. Of course everyone is talking pie these days - the holiday are coming, apples and pears can still be found on some trees and at most markets, and you really can't beat that cinnamon smell from the kitchen.

We are big pear eaters at our house. I often slice up pears and cheddar for an afternoon snack and I can easily coax Dylan into the car with help from a pear. So why not toss some in a pie? I experimented with a cornmeal crust to add a savory crunch and am really happy how it came out. This pie is tart with lemon and orchard fruit so it deserves a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

We recently took a little trip to Chappaquiddick Island to explore and take full advantage of our first island fall.  We didn't see any other people, just passed a few cars on the roads. Our weekend outings in Providence were so different - Children's Museum, zoo, busy cafes, city playgrounds. I'm not sure which suits us best but I feel incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful place and am not getting bored of admiring it.

Apple & Pear Pie with Cornmeal Crust 

For the Filling:
2 pears (I used Barlett)
3 apples (I used Gala)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch salt
juice and zest from 1 lemon

For the Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, nut into small pieces
6 tablespoons ice water

1 egg for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse raw sugar

To make the crust:

1. Add flour, cornmeal, and salt to food processor - pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and run for 10 seconds, until it turns to crumbs. With the motor on, stream in ice water slowly until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

2. Turn the dough onto a floured counter and divide in half. Shape the two mounds into disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. When ready to assemble pie, flour work surface and roll out each disc into a 12" circle. Fold in half then in half again to easily move crust to pie pan.

To make the filling:

1. Slice apples and pears thin. Toss in a large bowl with cinnamon, arrowroot powder, brown sugar, salt, lemon juice and zest.

To assemble and bake:

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Lay first rolled crust into pie pan, spoon in filling, top with second crust. Trim any excess crust and crimp edges with your fingers.  Cut a few slits in the center of the pie so steam can escape.

3. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

4. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, lower oven to 350 and bake for another 40 minutes.

5. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes then serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream.


  1. Looks lovely! It appears you don't peel the apples. How does that work out for you? I've always peeled the apples for a pie.

  2. Good question! If I'm baking an apple pie with thick slices of apple I will remove the skin but here I sliced both the apple and pear very thin - about 1/4" or even smaller and the skin on worked out great - added a nice flavor. Good luck!

  3. I made this pie tonight and it turned out wonderfully. I have to admit that I've never made my own pie crust and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. I'll never fear the crust again! :)


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