There are some favours that are hard to refuse, and I always have trouble leaving the cries of “but I can’t make XXXX!!” go un-helped. Pastry dough – a naff beast if you’re not used to it – can be tamed with the help of a friend or two, and some experience, and a GIANT MARBLE PLANK (to keep things cold), ouahahaha. Attention to temperature, my friends, attention to temp…
So while my roommate had fond childhood memories of baking apple scents wafting from his oven (thanks to mom, of course), he had no wherewithall to do it himself! And that wasn’t right, so we dove into making his own idea – a pear pie with cardamom. It turned out like a dream, too… huge organic pears with loads of spice, cooked soft and redolent inside the most crackly and melting striated crust ever – possibly the best crust I’ve ever made. Even the bottom was crispy! And simultaneously suffused with the perfumed juices of autumn fruits cooked to within an inch of their structural integrity. Mmmmmm gooo.. mmmmmm pie gooo. (<— good with words, ya?) (can’t eloquate: too full of pie. :P)
I’m also obsessed with caramel. Put caramel on a brick and I’m likely to eat it before throwing it, which is no mean feat, cause like, bricks are hard to chew. But caramel is awesome, and so I make it any chance I get. This one had lime in it, because….. that’s a delicious thing, and exotic and I like that too. Reminded me faintly of dusky tents, the lime combined with the cardamom-spice, and yes, I ended up putting some of the rest of this on pecan ice cream laterz, yum.
If you want to make some kinda version of this, it’s terribly easy. Some of my measurements concerning the fruit are a little intuited, but this sort of thing is kinda of a stir-and-taste as you go procedure anyway (a blessed occurrence whenever it’s found in pastry-world).
Lime Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- 2-3 tablespoons lime (or lemon) juice
Spread sugar evenly in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add half the water and a few drops of the lime juice and heat over medium heat until deep amber coloured and just beginning to smoke. Take off the heat, add the remaining water and lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
Keeps 1 month in the refrigerator.
Cardamom Pear Pie
- A favourite butter crust recipe, or Chocolate Butter Crust (enough for a bottom and a lid)
- PEARS! lots of them. soft, juicy, ripe ones. Anjou’s are best, but Bartlett’s, Concordes or Boscs work nicely too. About 10 for a modest pie, 15 for a more generous mound (stack it as high as you like – when at home I rather like a big inviting fruity filling). Peel those, core, and slice thinly.
- 1/2 cup sugar / 100 g
- 1 tsp fresh ground cardamom
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- tiny pinch of salt
- 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter, for dotting on top.
- 1 egg, beaten
- coarse sugar (optional)
- Toss the fruit with the sugar, spices, vanilla, cornstarch and salt, then tumble into a waiting pie dish lined with your favourite crust recipe (it’s especially nice if you can keep the bottom crust in the freezer until you’re ready for it).
- Dot with specks of unsalted butter, then roll out the top crust and layer gently on top, trimming the edges and forming a nice crust. Decorate with bits of leftover dough, if you have any! Brush the top lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake at 400°F until the fruit is very soft and the filling is bubbly (anywhere from 40-60 minutes). If the crust is browning too quickly, make a shield out of tinfoil to protect the outer edge, and continue baking.
Eat, hot or cold, for the next few days, and with gusto. !