While pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies all have their place, this Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie recipe from Cook's Illustrated creates a new classic to liven up our holiday spread.
Pears are fine on their own, but when paired with tart cranberries and aromatic ginger, they make for an extraordinary filling. Microwaving the pears was a fuss-free way to remove their excess moisture and prevent a watery filling and soggy crust. We also processed the cranberries with sugar in the food processor to mitigate their tartness. A simple streusel topping provided a nice textural contrast to the soft fruit filling. Finally, to ensure the flavor of the ginger came through loud and clear, we included three different types in our pie: a teaspoon of fresh ginger in the filling and both ground and candied ginger in the streusel.
Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie
1 recipe Foolproof Single-Crust Pie Dough
3 pounds Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced ¼ inch thick
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup (3 ¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¼ cup packed (1 ¾ ounces) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm
8 ounces (2 cups) fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
The pears should be ripe but firm, which means the flesh at the base of the stem should give slightly when gently pressed.
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough into 12‑inch circle on floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9‑inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into plate bottom with your other hand. Wrap dough-lined plate loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toss pears with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in large bowl. Microwave, covered, until pears turn translucent and release their juices, 4 to 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through microwaving. Uncover and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
3. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Tuck overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of plate using your fingers. Wrap dough-lined plate loosely in plastic and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.
4. Combine flour, brown sugar, crystallized ginger, ground ginger, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir until mixture is completely moistened. Let cool completely, about 10 minutes.
5. Combine cranberries, fresh ginger, and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in food processor and pulse until cranberries are roughly chopped, about 5 pulses. Drain cooled pears and discard liquid. Return pears to now-empty bowl and add cranberry mixture, stirring to combine. Transfer mixture to dough-lined plate. Sprinkle topping over pear mixture, breaking apart any large clumps. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake until juices are bubbling and topping is deep golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes, rotating pie plate halfway through baking. Let pie cool completely on wire rack, about 4 hours, before serving.
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