speculoos bartlett pear pie

20141119_012526~2Harvest season. Of all the pies that most people enjoy during this time of year, the pear is typically overlooked and forgotten.

The Bartlett pear is a fruit I look forward to buying in the supermarkets during the Autumn season. It has a delicate thin skin, a smooth texture and is extra juicy. They change to a bright yellow color as they ripen.

You can ripen Bartlett pears by simply leaving them out at room temperature.

The secret to this pie recipe is the crumb crust made out of speculoos cookies. The cookies have a sweet-spicy gingerbread flavor. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, run out and buy two of these; my local Trader Joe’s can’t keep them on the shelf.
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Here’s a nod to this humble, forgotten fall fruit.


speculoos bartlett pear (recipe)
*preheat the oven to 425°F*

for the crust:
You can use store bought, pre-made pie crusts or make your own (for an extra-flaky crust, I made mine with duck fat).
1 7oz package of Trader Joe’s speculoos cookies (you can also use whatever cookies you like)
– 8 tbs of butter, melted

for the filling:
4 large, ripe Bartlett pears
Peeled, cored and sliced (if you want larger chunks of pears in your pie, you can modify how thick you want to cut them up.
¼ cup vanilla bean paste
1 tsp lemon juice
1.5 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar (you can add more or less depending on how sweet you want your pie to be)
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

making the crust:
Roll out your pie crust on the bottom of your pie pan and fit it to your pan. Trim the edges etc.
Bake the crust, without the filling, in the oven at 425°F for 12-15 or until the edges have barely begun to turn color. (Baking a crust without the filling is called, blind baking).
Using a food processor, process the package of cookies with the butter until the cookies become crumbly. The cookie crumbs might clump together… this is okay.
After blind baking the crust, and cooling for 15 minutes, use the back of a measuring cup to press a layer of cookie crumbs  on the bottom of the crust.
The thickness of the cookie layer will depend on your desired speculoos flavor. You will have plenty of cookie crumbs left over.
Place in refrigerator to cool while you work on the filling.

making the filling:
Peel, core and slice the pears.
In a pot large enough to fit the chopped pears, combine: chopped pears, vanilla bean paste, lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg.
Mix the contents of the pot together over medium-high heat. Continue heating and stirring until the pears become limp and soft but not mushy.
You can add more nutmeg, cinnamon or brown sugar to taste.

assembly:
Transfer the filling to the crumb lined pie pan.
You can do whatever you want for the top crust. You can even use the remaining cookie crumbs as a topping! I chose to do a lattice top and a braided crust!

baking:
– 
Bake the pie in the oven at 450°F for 45 minutes in the middle rack. The filling will become bubbly. If the crust gets too brown before the entire pie is cooked, cover the crust with aluminum foil and continue baking.

This pie is brimming with sweet Bartlett pears and an extra-flaky crust.

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