Sautéed Quince and Pear Pie
Source: Reggie Harris, Pie Contest Winner
This pie won second prize in CUESA’s Fall Pie Contest at Jack London Square Farmers Market Harvest Festival on October 30, 2016.
12 ounces (2 ⅔ cups) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces (½ cup or 2 sticks) cold butter
4 ounces (½ cup) ice cold water
Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Use a whisk or pastry blender to mix well.
Using a pastry blender (or your fingers), cut the butter into the flour mixture until the largest pieces are the size of small peas.
Add half of the ice cold water and mix until the water has been evenly absorbed. A tablespoon at a time, add more water and mix, stopping when the dough is able to hold together into a ball. On humid days, you will likely need less water. On drier days you may need the full amount of water.
Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.
Roll out the bottom crust and place in a 9-inch pie plate. You should have a 1 to 1½ inch overhang. Tuck this overhang under the crust to form a ridge along the edge, then flute the edge as desired. Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to set the crust.
To blind-bake (aka pre-baking) the crust, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Take crust from the freezer, and cover the bottom, sides, and edge with enough foil so that you are able to fold the foil over the edge of the crust. This prevents the crust from burning.
Place dry beans, coins, or pie weights over the foil to keep the crust from puffing up or shrinking during baking. Place in oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, remove weights and foil from crust and place back in oven for another 3 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Sautéed Quince and Pear Filling
3 pounds quince
¼ cup of butter (1 stick)
2 pounds Bosc pears (Bosc pears are great because they stay firm after baking, but can substitute any other variety of pear that doesn’t get too soft or mushy after cooking, like D’Anjou)
1 Granny Smith apple (or other tart cooking apple)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ brown sugar
1 tablespoon arrowroot (can substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon tapioca flour or 2 tablespoons of flour)
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon regular table salt)
1 egg yolk plus 1 teaspoon of water for egg wash (optional)
Peel and core quince, taking care to remove all of the tough core from the quince as it remains hard even after cooking. Cut quince into ½ inch slices.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, then place the sliced quince in the pan. Cover and sauté over medium-low heat for 90 minutes to 2 hours, stirring occasionally making sure that the quince doesn’t burn. The key here is to cook the quince slowly. The quince is done when it has become soft and has taken on a deep rose color.
While the quince is cooking, peel, core, and slice the pears into ¼ inch slices and place into a bowl. Peel, core, and grate the Granny Smith apple using the large holes on your grater. Combine with the pear slices. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and Grand Marnier. (The lemon juice, in particular, will keep the pears from turning brown.)
In a separate bowl, combine the sugars, arrowroot, cardamom, cinnamon, and kosher salt and mix well. Sprinkle this mixture over the pears and stir to combine.
After the quince is cooked, using a large slotted spoon, remove the quince from the pan and add to the pear mixture, and stir gently to keep the quince slices as whole as possible.
BAKING THE PIE
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Onto your blind baked bottom crust, layer the pear-quince mixture, minimizing the gaps between the pieces of fruit. Roll out the top crust. If desired, you can make an egg yolk wash by mixing an egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and brushing this on the top of the pie. This imbues a richer golden color and a shiny finish to the top crust as it bakes.
Place top crust over pie and cut 4-8 slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Alternatively, you can cut the crust into strips and weave a decorative lattice over the pie.
Bake pie for 20 minutes then lower heat to 375°F and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until top crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling.
At any point, place strips of foil over the edge (or use a pie shield) to prevent the edge from burning.
Let pie cool for at least 90 minutes before serving.