Pear Butterscotch Pie


There are no words. I was sad when Domino bid farewell, but that was nothing compared to having to say good-bye to probably the greatest food magazine ever. At least they are ending on a high note. Their last several issues have been so amazing–the photography and food styling, the recipes and articles. I guess we’ll survive somehow.

Over the summer I started cooking a lot from Gourmet. You know, instead of drooling over the photos, I could drool over the actual food. (A lot better and much more satisfying.)

My good friend, Nat, is always so generous. She shared a bounteous pear crop with me. I used them in all sorts of ways. They were the most delicious pears I think I’ve ever tasted. (I know I exaggerate sometimes, but really, they were.)

Anyway, to get ready for Thanksgiving, I’ve been making pies. Pie crust and I are now officially back on speaking terms, and in fact, we are friends. (Not quite BFFs yet, but close.)

The Pear Butterscotch Pie called to me from the pages of the September issue of Gourmet. In that issue (one of my favorites) recipes were organized and showcased alphabetically. It was fun to read and look at the lovely photos. I could tell the whole staff had a great time putting it together.

This pie is G-O-O-D, good. As my daughter pointed out, it does taste a lot like apple pie. Except that it’s not! It’s better. You know how apples in pie sometimes get more…toothesome? In sort of an unappealing way? Or completely break down? The pears don’t. They melt in your mouth, but hold their shape.

Though not in the photograph, we ate our pie with a side of pear ice cream. (The recipe for that is coming soon to a blog near you.)

Pear Butterscotch Pie
from Gourmet, September 2009

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/2 lb firm-ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears (about 5), peeled, each cut into 6 wedges, and cored 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 prepared recipe for a double crust all-butter pastry dough (I used Martha’s Perfect Pate Brisee)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Put a baking sheet on middle rack of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, then whisk in brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Gently toss pears with brown sugar mixture, lemon juice, and vanilla and let stand 5 to 15 minutes to macerate fruit.

Roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining disk chilled) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 13-inch round. Reserve scraps.

Transfer filling to shell. Dot with butter, then cover with pastry round. Trim edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang (reserve scraps). Press edges together to seal, then fold under. Lightly brush top crust with some of egg wash, then cut 3 (1-inch-long) vents.

Roll out dough scraps about 1/8 inch thick and cut out shapes with cutters (or a knife). Arrange decoratively on top of pie, pressing gently to help them adhere. Lightly brush top crust and cutouts with some of egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375°F and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes more. Cool to warm or room temperature, 2 to 3 hours.

*The magazine says the pie is best the day it is made, which is true, but it also tastes great for about 4 days in our opinion.

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  1. Ohhhh Myyyyy……. I think I can smell the delicousness of this pie from the pictures alone~
    That is one perfect, flaky, beautiful pie crust. And those pears? Mmmmm…..they look amazing. {sigh}
    Again I find myself wanting to find myself in your kitchen. ;)

    So inspired ~ thank you for sharing :)

  2. have i told you i’m still impressed with the tomato soup you whipped up the other day?

    you are awesome.

    i’m so glad you could use Nan’s (my sister in law’s) pears. they are so good.

  3. I’m totally with you on the pie crust issue–I used to totally be afraid of it, but now I feel I am its mistress. This pie looks divine; maybe I’ll try it for my dessert-auction winner.

  4. hehe…steph of “a whisk and a spoon” made this in honor of Gourmet as well. Great minds think alike. :) I admit I’ve never had a pear pie, but this sounds very appealing.

    PS. I think your crust looks great! I can’t consistently make good pie crusts yet.

  5. so sad about gourmet. i was shocked but not. :(

    this recipe looks delicious. you are inspiring me to get going on my pie baking! :)

    can’t wait for Thanksgiving!

  6. Wow, I hadn’t heard the news about Gourmet. There goes my subscription… sad, really. Love, LOVE the look of that pear pie! I feel like I could just dig my fork in!!

  7. Thanks for all the comments.

    Shaky–sure. I think that would be fine.

    Steph–too funny. Somehow I missed that on reader and didn’t see it until this morning. :)

    Vanessa–thanks! It’s always fun to see you.

  8. Yum, butterscotch anything is welcomed in my home.

    Before I started blogging I used to get Gourmet mailed to me. I drooled over all the photos but never made anything outta there. Since I’ve started blogging and built up my confidence I’ve successfully made several things. It figures they’d stop publishing just when I was getting my footing.

  9. I am so glad that this one is good! I think I am going to make it tonight! I just read this over at a Whisk and a Spoon as well!! And this totally stuck out at me when I was reading this month’s issue. A great farewell to the best magazine ever.

  10. I want to cry at the beauty and ingredients of this pie. And what am I saying? I don’t even like pie! But these picts have me changing my mind.

  11. I moved a few months ago to a beautiful house that came with two pear trees. I found this recipe on Pinterest and couldn’t wait to try it. I love to make pies and my husband said this was the BEST pie he had ever had. I agree!

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