Monday, January 11, 2010

Maple Ginger Pear Pie (#1)

I'm not going to call my first pie in this experiment a flop, but when I don't even want a second helping, I'd say that's a pretty sad pie.

I consider myself somewhat of a ginger lover and I'm definitely a maple lover so I thought this combination would be pretty delicious. However, the combination made here, was a little too gingery for me...or a little too something.

On top of that, it was very, very watery. I know that may be due to the fact that it wasn't completely cool, but even if it had sat out a few more hours, I'm certain that it wouldn't have set up that much more. I hate it when you cut into a pie and it's like a damn breaks.

What was right:
The crust. The crust was good. While I'm not sure that it will become my "go-to" crust, it made a pretty perfect amount of dough for a nine-inch pie pan, it tasted good, and while baking, it had a delicious buttery smell. Frankly, of all things that I wanted to eat again, it was the pie crust, which, to be honest, I did nibble on it a little bit while we were doing the dishes.

Where I think I went wrong:
Although I had read the recipe several times, it wasn't until I was putting this together that I started thinking, "Geez, this has a lot of flavors going on here." And while I'm willing to follow the recipe writer's judgment over my own, I usually rely heavily on how things taste (seems like a no-brainer, right?), but I didn't taste the filling while I was compiling it so, I really couldn't tell what was going on there. Note to self: don't fast and cook pies at the same time.

1-The Wheelers (our friends who came over for dinner), said that it was good and that they liked it, especially since they're big ginger fans. However, you should take into consideration that they didn't realize pre-dessert that they were part of my test kitchen and that I would still want to be their friends even if they said it was disgusting. Nonetheless, I will take them at their words. Thumbs up on this pie if you're a ginger lover.
2-Ryan was also really excited about this combination, but after tasting it, said it wasn't really something that he'd want me to make again.
3-I wouldn't make it again without some alterations (less ginger, a different type of pear like a Bartlett or an Anjou, a little more flour, a longer baking time, or perhaps I would strain some of the liquid out of the filling before adding it to the crust, and speaking of the crust, I would probably add more water to the crust. It was a little too dry).

Maple, Ginger Pear Pie
(adapted from Bon Appetit, November 1999)


6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

1 large egg yolk

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter

Combine flour, sugar, and salt and whisk (to diminish flour clumps). Cut cold butter into chunks and cut into flour mixture until it creates coarse meal.

In another bowl, whisk eight tablespoons of water with one egg yolk and knead into mixture. When combined, divide into two rounded discs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.


3 pounds firm but ripe Comice pears, peeled, and cut into 1/3-inch-thick wedges

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lemon peel grated


2 tablespoons half & half

1 tablespoon sugar


Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375°F

Toss together pears, maple syrup, sugar, flour, lemon juice, ginger, vanilla, & lemon peel so they are evenly coated.

Roll out one dough disk on a lightly floured surface to about twelve inches and arrange in the middle of a nine-inch pie crust so falls over the edge of the pan. Transfer filling to crust. Re-flour surface and roll out other dough disk. Drape dough over filling and trim the overhang to about 1/2 inch. Fold overhang under, pressing to seal and forming high-standing rim. Crimp edge decoratively.

Brush crust with half and half. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut several slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking and place on baking sheet. Bake pie on the center rack for 1 hour (or until crust is golden brown and the juices bubble thickly).

Click to enlarge and print:


  1. So, My dear friend makes a sour cream pear pie. I think you might enjoy the luscious combo! You are such a sexy domestic one!

  2. I happen to be the friend Megan is referring to Kim. You know me. We've met. :)

    So, here's something I learned about juicy pies: if you must keep the liquid, heat it and thicken with cornstarch first. If it's a toss-all-these-ingredients-together-and-it-may-get-liquidy-in-the-oven, kinda pie, toss a tablespoon in with the sugar. World. Of. Difference.

    Oh, and crystallized ginger is way more gingery than even fresh ginger because it's dried and basically concentrated.

    Phew. Hope all that helps.

  3. What a clever idea. I'll be keeping tabs on your pie adventures this year.