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Pear Pie with Blue Cheese Walnut Crust

Pears are one of the quintessential fall fruits. This recipe for Pear Pie with Blue Cheese and Walnut Crust is practically autumn in edible form. The sweetness of the pears is complemented by the richness of the blue cheese. Give it a try and see if it doesn’t become one of your favorites.

Blue Cheese Walnut Crust

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup walnuts, chopped

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Pear Pie

4 ripe Bosque pears

2 ripe Anjou pears

Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup raisins, optional

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Blue Cheese Walnut Crust

Butter and flour a 10-inch pie pan.

Place the flour, salt and walnuts into the workbowl of a food processor fitted with a stainless steel blade. Pulse once or twice to mix the ingredients.

Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon-sized pieces and add the butter to the workbowl. Add the blue cheese. Pulse the ingredients until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

Add 2 tablespoons of water and pulse the dough several times. If it is moist enough to easily stick together when you squeeze it between your fingers and your palm, it is ready. If not, continue adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is this consistency. Be careful not to overprocess the dough or it will be tough.

Remove the dough from the workbowl and place on a large piece of plastic wrap. Form the dough into a ball and cut away 1/3 of the dough using a knife. Fold the plastic wrap around each piece of dough, pressing each into a disc about ½ inches high. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Pear Pie

While the dough is chilling, peel and core the pears and then cut into thin wedges. Place the pears in a medium bowl pour the lemon juice over the pears as each is peeled and cut gently, tossing the pear wedges to coat them with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Add the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins and walnuts to the pears and toss until all is well combined.

Preheat the oven to 375º. Lightly butter a 9 to 10 inch pie pan or 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and set aside.

Remove the larger disc of dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle flour over a worksurface and place the larger piece the dough on top. Flour a rolling pin and roll out the dough to become a circle a little larger than the pie plate. Transfer the dough to the pan and leave the excess dough hanging over the edge of the pan.

Place the pears in the pan in overlapping concentric circles on top of the crust. Remove the walnuts and raisins from the juices, sprinkle them over the pears and poke them down into the crevices. Set aside the excess juices.

Sprinkle flour over the worksurface. Remove the smaller disc of dough from the refrigerator and place it on the floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and rough out the dough to become a large circle about the size of the pie. Using a fluted rolling cutter, cut the dough into strips about ½ inch wide.

Use the strips to weave a lattice atop the pie. Cut off the excess ends of the strips that overhang the pie pan, fold the excess dough up over the ends of the strips and then crimp the dough around the rim of the pie plate by pinching it using your thumb and forefinger.

Place the pie pan on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the juice around the pears is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. If the crust browns too quickly and the filling is not bubbling, place a flat piece of aluminum foil loosely over the pie and continue baking until the filling is bubbly. Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool before cutting.

To serve, cut the pie into wedges.

Serves 8

For another excellent fall or holiday side dish try this Gouda Bread Pudding recipe.

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