Hello my blossoms! Apparently National Pie Day was this week? Personally I think that’s dumb, everyone knows that Pie Day should be March 14th, aka 3.14 like pi, right?? Anyway, I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to make pie, and I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a long time and am so glad I finally got around to it. Taken from the cookbook Sweeter off The Vine by Yossy Arefi, this book was actually one of the first cookbooks in my collection, given to me by my sister Kathleen when I turned 21. The book is entirely fruit based, and separated into seasons and then broken up even further by each fruit, which I really LOVE.
What really caught my eye about this recipe was the caramel mixed into the filling, specifically because of how easy it was. There’s no thermometer required, and it literally takes 5 minutes to come together. What I’m getting at is we should all be making more caramel all the time, we have no excuse. This caramel is slightly different because instead of heavy cream being whisked in at the end, it’s creme fraiche, which is a thicker, soured french cream that adds a lovely tartness to offset the sweetness of the caramel. Combine that with the warmth of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, PLUS the light freshness of pears, and you have reached dessert heaven.
*Also asa side note, Sweet D now has her very own Facebook page, which can be found here. If that is something that interests you, please follow along!! Love love love.
As per usual, here are 5 things to be happy about today before we get started!
ONE. Bread and butter with pots of jam.
TWO. A smile, a sunny day, an ice-cold Coca-Cola, and a best friend to share it with.
THREE. An orderly kitchen.
FOUR. Winter bringing long, silent nights to dream on.
FIVE. Upper New York State.
MAKES: 1 9-inch pie
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
BAKE TIME: 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
CREME FRAICHE CARAMEL INGREDIENTS
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup water
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
½ cup creme fraiche, at room temperature
CREME FRAICHE CARAMEL STEPS
ONE. Combine the sugar, water, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat, swirling the mixture but not stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
TWO. Add the butter and vanilla (with the pod if you’re using the whole vanilla bean), and continue to cook, swirling occasionally and not stirring, until it turns a deep amber color. It’s important to keep an eye on it at this point, because it can go from amber to burnt very quickly!
THREE. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the creme fraiche carefully, as the caramel tends to splatter. Take out the vanilla pod if you used one (it can be rinsed and re-used!), and allow the caramel to cool slightly before you use it.
PEAR PIE INGREDIENTS
1 recipe Perfect Pie Crust, found here
2½ lbs firm but ripe pears (about 5 or 6)
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ cup creme fraiche caramel
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water)
PEAR PIE STEPS
ONE. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of your pie crust dough into a circle large enough to fit your pie plate. Set aside or in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
TWO. Peel and core the pears, then slice into ¼” thick slices. Mix in a large bowl with the flour, sugar, spices, and lemon juice. Add half of this filling to the prepared bottom crust, drizzle the caramel on top, and add the remaining pears on top.
THREE. Roll out the top crust and cover however you feel like! I used a lattice, directions for which can be found here, or you could simply use a full top crust and cut slits in the top. Brush the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Place on a sheet pan before baking to catch any spills.
FOUR. Bake at 425ºF for the first 20 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350ºF and bake for another 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crisp, and the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool slightly before serving, best eaten with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and another generous drizzle of caramel.