Sunday, December 7, 2014

Apple-Pear Praline Pie

Here I am, back after Thanksgiving break.  I had a great holiday with my parents and I hope you, readers, had a great time with your loved ones.  When it's time to go back to work, I wasn't so excited, but my work schedule is actually not a bad one.  In a about 2 weeks time, I'll have a winter break for two weeks!  

My husband and I finally replaced the igniter in our oven today.  I feel so giddy right now, it's like having a new oven!  For a few weeks I couldn't do any baking nor making any menu because I couldn't forecast whether I'd still have my oven or not.  I could end up having to buy a new one, which I wanted to avoid.  Now I can bake cookies!  More pies!  Make that Dutch pancakes for breakfast!  

Taking apart that old igniter was a pain though, because the old screw has lost its grooves which made it hard to unscrew.  We had to use all kinds of tools, and hoping that it wouldn't break the screw because we still had to reuse it to attach the new igniter.  In the end, the new one got installed; what's supposed to be a 15-minute job took about an hour, yeah, it's never that easy.  When I pushed the button to bake and set the temperature, it seemed like an eternity, but lo and behold, it worked right away without me having to use a fire retardant :)

To end my happy dance, I'm going to share the recipe of apple-pear praline pie.  This was the pie that I made for Thanksgiving day; it was a hit with my family, especially since it's eaten with vanilla ice cream.  My family wasn't a big fan of pumpkin pie anyway so making this was a smarter plan.  We had too much to eat, of course, and I was punished by having some extra pounds packed into my belly.  Oh well, I have 3 weeks of dieting before the food galore starts again :D

Apple-Pear Praline Pie

Makes 8 servings

1 recipe Nut Pastry
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups thinly sliced, peeled tart apples
3 cups sliced, peeled pears
2 tablespoons butter, cut up
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half

Preheat oven to 375F.  Prepare Nut Pastry.  On a lightly floured surface use your hands to slightly flatten one pastry ball.  Roll it from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.  Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin.  Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate.  Roll remaining ball into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.

In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and dash of salt.  Add apples and pears; gently toss until coated.  Transfer apple mixture to the pastry-lined pie plate.  Dot with the 2 tablespoons butter.  Fold bottom pastry under and crimp as desired.  Roll second pastry circle; with leaf-shape/acorn-shaped/any shape cookie cutter, cut out shapes from second pastry circle.  Arrange cutouts on top of filling.  

To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil.  Place a foil-lined baking sheet on the rack below the pie in oven.  Bake for 50 minutes; remove foil.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes more or until filling is bubbly.  Transfer to a wire rack.

In a small saucepan, melt the ¼ cup butter over medium heat.  Gradually stir in brown sugar and milk.  Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil.  Carefully spoon over baked pie.  Return pie to oven; bake for 2 to 3 minutes more or until topping bubbles.  Cool on wire rack.

Nut Pastry

In a large bowl, stir together 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, ¼ cup ground toasted almonds or pecans, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut into ¼ cup shortening and ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut up, until pieces are pea size.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon ice water over part of the flour mixture; toss gently with a fork.  Push moistened pastry to one side of bowl.  Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon ice water at a time, until all of the flour mixture is moistened (½ to ⅔ cup ice water total). Gather flour mixture into a ball, kneading gently until it holds together.  Divide pastry in half; form halves into balls.

Source:  Holiday Recipes Better Homes and Garden 2013

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