Monday, December 5, 2011

Pushing Daisies Recipe: Pear Pie with a Gruyere-Baked Crust

Let's observe a brief moment of silence for Pushing Daisies (wikipedia).

Not only was it a clever show with an adorably fantastical storyline---man brings dead things to life with a single touch, but a second touch kills them forever; with every thing brought back to life, something else somewhere close has to die; man brings the love of his life back from the dead, but then can never touch her again---but it also featured a star-studded cast...

Starring Chi McBride, Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene, and Kristen Chenowith.  Narrated by Jim Dale.

...fantastic wardrobe selections...

...and pie.

One of the pies featured prominently in the show was a pear pie with a gruyere-baked crust.  Characters were shown eating this pie in several episodes, and each time they had near-orgasmic reactions

Two characters eating said pear+gruyere pie.  This is not the orgasmic reaction to which I was referring.

After a few episodes of this show, I HAD to know what this pie tasted like.  So I found a pear pie recipe, made my own crusts and added gruyere, then put it together.  And wow.  It's awesome.

So, if you're looking to impress some people this holiday season, give this pie a shot.  Unfortunately, I can't give you any exact measurements for my pie additions since I generally just eyeball the gruyere, but as far as I'm concerned, that just makes it foolproof.

Recipe links and photos behind the cut.

Follow this fresh pear pie recipe.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla to the sliced pears and mix them up.

Follow this vodka pie crust recipe, with these variations:
  • Before adding the liquid ingredients, grate a little less than a 1/4 pound of gruyere into the flour.  (I usually just eyeball this part and use common sense---it should be enough cheese that you can taste it, but not so much that you've got more cheese than flour.  Then again, I don't think it's possible to add TOO MUCH cheese...or at least I have not yet reached this point.)  
  • Use the big side of the grater for stronger flavor.  
  • Mix up the cheese with the dry ingredients, then add the liquid.  
  • Save some gruyere to grate on the top of the crust (after 15 minutes in the oven).

Refrigerating the dough.  It helps a LOT if you let this dough cool for at least two hours before you try to work with it.

Rolling tip:  roll out by pushing evenly from the center out to the ends.  I have this silicone pie mat that helps guide me re: size of the crust.

Trick to transferring the pie crust from the mat to the pan:  fold it in quarters.  It's easier to move, and then you can easily center the crust in the pan before you unfold it.

Sliced pears.

Sugar + cinnamon mixture.  I usually go light on the sugar and have a lot left over.  (PS:  This cinnamon is AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING.  Penzey's will also send you a free gift.)

Half-filled pie crust, sprinkled with sugar.

The pies, ready to be baked.  Make sure to cut vents in the upper crust to allow steam to escape.  (After about fifteen minutes in the oven, take out the pie and grate some more gruyere on top.)

The finished product, with the baked gruyere on top.

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