makes one 8” pie
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 oz.) cold butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup ice cold water
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Using a bench scraper or your fingers, cut in the butter until the dough is crumbly. Add the ice cold water, tossing the mixture to combine, just until the dough becomes shaggy and sticks together when pinched. Gather the dough together and divide it in half. Shape each half into a disc, flatten it and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out. When the pastry has chilled, roll out one disc on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper into a circle about ⅛” thick and 11” in diameter. Place the pastry in an 8” pie plate. Trim the excess so you have about a one inch overhang then fold and crimp the edges. Refrigerate the bottom crust. Roll out the second disc of pastry for the top crust on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper into a circle about ⅛” thick and 10” in diameter. Trim the excess and refrigerate the top crust on a baking sheet while you prepare the filling.
3-4 firm but ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced ⅛” thick (4 cups)
zest of one small lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1½ cups frozen, pitted sweet cherries, cut in half, thawed, partially drained (I buy them at Trader Joes)
½ cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
¼ teaspoon cardamom
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
egg wash made from one egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of cream or milk
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, vanilla bean seeds, cardamom, salt and cornstarch. In a large bowl, combine pears, lemon zest, juice and cherries. Add the sugar/spice mixture to the fruit, using a rubber spatula to combine. Pour the filling into the chilled pie shell, cover with the top crust. Trim the excess pastry, seal and crimp the edges. Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut a few steam vents in the center of the pie.
Bake at 400 degrees F on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden and juices bubble thickly around the edges and through the middle of the pie. Cool on a rack for several hours before serving.
(Note: It’s important to allow the frozen cherries to thaw and drain a bit before using. They don’t need to be bone dry, but you want them soft and pliable, not a solid piece of ice. I save the juice for beverages.)