Did you watch ABC‘s too-soon cancelled TV show, Pushing Daisies? If we had Ned’s (Lee Pace) power to bring the dead back to life, this Bryan Fuller series would still be on the air. Remember season one, episode three, “Fun in Funeral,” in which Chuck (Anna Friel) bakes anti-depressants into a Pear and Gruyère Pie, for her depressed, cheese-loving aunts, Vivian (Ellen Greene) and Lily (Swoosie Kurtz)? Well the good folks at The Kitchn, do, and have developed a recipe.
You will have to see your doctor to get Chuck’s secret ingredient, but we think this sweet and savory treat will lift spirits without it. From Alexandra, at The Kitchn:
Pear Gruyère Pie
Makes one 9 to 10 inch pear pie
Gruyère Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 ounces of Gruyère, grated finely
20 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 1 in pieces
6-7 tablespoons ice water
Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and grated gruyere in a large mixing bowl. Using a food processor, mix butter and flour/cheese mixture until the largest butter chunks are the size of large peas.
For the crust:
Remove flour/cheese/butter mixture from food processor return it to the large mixing bowl. Sprinkle ice water over flour in increments of one tablespoon, toss with fork after each addition. Be careful not to add too much water. You can get an even water distribution by adding putting the water in one of those spritzer bottles. When dough begins to clump together as you stir, test the dough by squeezing it in your hands, if it forms in a lump then gather the rest of the dough together into two separate disks, leaving one slightly larger than the other. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Or if you are in a rush, toss the dough in the freezer for about an hour, when it’s solid yet still gives slightly under your touch, it’s ready to go.
Spiced Poached Pear Pie Filling:
3 pounds Bartlett pears
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup port wine
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 egg, lightly beaten (for crust)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Add sugar, wine, water, vanilla, cinnamon stick, ginger, nutmeg and clove into a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Put an empty medium bowl into the freezer to chill.
Peel and halve pears. Scoop the core and seeds out and then cut the halves in half. Once liquid mixture has come to a boil add cut pears. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pears are tender.
Using a slotted spoon remove the pear quarters from the poaching liquid and put them into the chilled bowl.
Return the poaching liquid to a boil and reduce until you have about 3/4 of a cup of syrup. Add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to the syrup to thicken the syrup further. Pour the syrup into a measuring cup and chill.
In the meantime, roll the larger piece of dough into a circle around fourteen inches in diameter. I roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to keep it from sticking. Peel off one side of the plastic wrap and center that side of the dough in the pie plate then remove the other sheet of plastic wrap.
Remove the pears from the chilled bowl layer them into the bottom of the pie. Pour the syrup on top of the pears.
Roll out the slightly smaller dough dish into circle around twelve inches in diameter. Place this dough round on top of the pie. Seal the crusts together using a fork or your fingers. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg, and make three parallel slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Or if you are feeling fancy pantsy, feel free to make decorative cutouts.
Put the pie on a cookie sheet to catch any drips–I like to cover my cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil to minimize the mess. Put the pie in the oven, bake until the crust is golden and you can see the filling bubble up between the slits in the crust, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream. Wrap any leftovers and store in the refrigerator.
Our tips: your grandmother did not need a food processor to make pie crust, and neither do you. You can get a pastry cutter at the dollar store, or in your grocery store’s baking aisle.
The trick to good pie crust is to start cold. A half hour before you are ready to begin, do the following: put your empty bowl and pie cutter in the fridge; cut your butter (and/or shortening) into one-inch pieces and chill (or even freeze); grate and chill (don’t freeze) the gruyère; measure out your water, put ice cubes in it, and put it in the fridge. Do not over-handle the dough, and your pie crust will turn out flaky and delicious.
What do you think? Were you a fan of ABC’s TV show, Pushing Daisies? Do you think it should have been renewed for a third season? Will you try making this pie?