Monday, December 19, 2011

Licorice Lattice-top Pear Pie

I couldn't resist an opportunity to make this Pear Anise Pie. I first read about it in ReadyMade (sadly no longer in print) magazine, which published an interview with two pie mavens and four of their intriguing pie recipes in its December/January 2011 issue. I guess I'm on track to make all of the pies from the article. The only one I have left to try is the Cranberry Sage. The Bittersweet Chocolate Cherry Nut and Pear Anise pies were visual showstoppers with good flavor, but not spectacular. The Vinegar Chess remains one of my favorites and is a snap to make. As a person who holds a fondness for licorice flavored items, this pie recipe stared me in the face and dared to be made. Plus, I had the added confidence that the other pies originating from the same bakery came out well. The result was certainly tasty. The pear and anise flavors complement each other well, and the anise did not overpower at all. It was subtle, yet held its own.

More than anything, the pie looked awesome. I was a bit worried I had overcooked it into pear sauce, but the pear slices underneath the goo held their structural integrity. My tried and true method of "the pie is done when the goo bubbles in the middle" proves itself again. I also must admit that I don't own any of the fancy Demerara sugar called for in the recipe. I could only assume that it is fat baker's sugar, so I improvised as best I could. Orange cookie decorating sprinkles it is!

Current Pie Tally: 70

Partytime Pecan Pie

When I made the pumpkin pie for my mom's post-Thanksgiving visit, I decided to go two for one on the crusts. I put the extra one in a Ziploc bag in the freezer, with the idea that I could crank out a pecan pie lickity split when needed for any holiday functions. The pecan pie is the only one-crust pie I'm making right now that doesn't require a pre-baked crust, so it's ideal for using up frozen crusts (or "money in the bank" as we pie people like to say). This little number came out great and was a nice addition to the dessert table at our winter holiday party. The recipe is the same as the one used in my last post about pecan pie.

Current Pie Tally: 69

Post-Thanksgiving Pumpkin

Since my mom couldn't be with us on Thanksgiving Day, she came down on the train the following week. After she finished packing the night before, she put in a request for me to save her a slice of pie. Little did she know that the Thanksgiving pie had been polished off long ago. Luckily, I had some pumpkin puree in the freezer and enough time to throw this pie (her favorite) together before she arrived. It was also the first time I got to try out my new holiday pie dish. I love it! The recipe used is the standby pumpkin version from older posts. For some reason blogger isn't letting me link to it right now.

Current Pie Tally: 68

Thanksgiving Pecan Pie

Yes, yes, I'm behind on the pie posting. Here's the kickoff to a holiday pie slam before Christmas. There's at least three more posts coming before Santa slides down the chimney, so stay tuned while I play catch up yet again. I made this pie for my dad and stepmom when they came to visit for Thanksgiving. They may have a different favorite pie, but they always have this one around at their place for Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd follow suit. I goofed up slightly on the syrup quantities in the last recipe for this that I posted. Using those quantities, the pie comes about a bit too sweet for my liking. Here's the corrected version:

Perfect Pecan Pie
6 T. unsalted butter
1 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 c. brown rice syrup
1/8 c. real maple syrup
1/8 c. good quality honey
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. grated orange zest
1/4 t. salt
3 large eggs
2 c. pecan halves (1/2 pound)

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out crust dough and line pie dish. Prick dough all over with a fork and stick in the freezer for about 10 minutes while you prepare the filling. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in sorghum, honey, syrup, vanilla, zest, and salt. Whisk syrup mixture into eggs. Pour pecans into pie shell. Pour liquid mixture over. Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes. Pie is done when filling is set and crust is golden brown. Enjoy!

Current Pie Tally: 67