I had a craving for a pear pie yesterday.  I hadn’t had one in a long time and decided I was going to bake one when I got home from work.  I broke down and bought a frozen pie crust.

I don’t know why I do this stuff.  I should know better.  I’m always disappointed.  It’s not that this particular crust was bad.  It wasn’t.  It just wasn’t all that good.

And then there’s the time-factor.  Folks talk about a frozen crust being this big time-saver.  Well…  I guess it is if you planned the pie days in advance, thawed the crust in the refrigerator and pulled it out and filled it with your jar of pre-made pie-filling it may be a time-saver, but what about if you decide you want to make a pie today?  Or, right now?

It’s a different story when you’re waiting (and waiting) for the dough to thaw enough to unfold it.  And after two hours on the counter it’s still going to break into quarters no matter what, so out comes the rolling pin to put it back together.

The pie could have been made, baked, and cooled by the time the damned dough almost thawed.

Time-saving, indeed.

And I really am beginning to think that even a bad homemade crust is going to taste better than a store-bought.

They just do.

So while the pie shell may have been a bit disappointing, the filing was superb.  Very simple, yet richly flavored.  Boiling down the pear nectar really concentrates that pear flavor and a bit of lemon juice adds the tartness to offset the sweet.

Really good.

The recipe is based upon a Bon Appetit recipe from years ago.

Pear and Raisin Pie

  • 1 cup pear nectar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 3 lbs pears, peeled, quartered, cored, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Pie pastry for double crust

Preheat to 400°. Prepare double crust according to your favorite recipe. (see below fr mine)

Boil nectar in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to 1/3 cup. Pour into large bowl and mix in raisins. Cool. Mix in sugar and remaining ingredients, then pears.

Spoon filling into crust. Seal top crust to bottom crust.  Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake pie until pears are tender, about 1 hour.  Cool.

And make a pie crust.

Pie Crust

This may be the easiest pie crust in the world!  Try it with 2/3 butter and 1/3 (not shortening) if you have it available.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup pastry/cake flour
  • 2 sticks butter, frozen
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Using a food processor, add flours, salt, and sugar. Pulse to mix.

Chop up frozen butter and add. Pulse until butter is incorporated and mixture looks grainy.

Slowly add ice water and pulse until mixed.

Turn out onto counter. Press and form mixture into two disks . I usually use right away, but you should really wrap it in plastic and refrigerate about an hour to allow the flour to properly absorb the water and to relax the gluten.

Roll out crust and place in pie plate. Crimp edges and fill.