Spiced Christmas Pie with Pear
· 80-90 g water
· 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
· 1 tsp cardamom seeds
· ½ vanilla pod
· 10 g icing sugar
· 40 g ground almonds
· 355 g wheat flour
· 1 pinch of salt
· 235 g cold butter
· 1.3 kg pears (unprepared weight)
· ½ lemon, zest + juice
· ½ vanilla pod
· 50 g cane sugar
· 100 g brown sugar
· 1 tsp cardamom seeds
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· ½ tsp ground ginger
· ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
· ½ tsp salt
· 45 g wheat flour
· Egg wash: 1 egg + 1 tbsp water
· Cane sugar
1. MAKE THE PASTRY:
Mix the water and apple cider vinegar and place in the freezer for about 20 mins until ice-cold. Prepare the rest while you wait. Crush the cardamom seeds, plus the extra for the filling. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and mix with the icing sugar to separate them.
Put the ground almonds, wheat flour, spices and homemade vanilla sugar in a large bowl. Cut the cold butter into cubes and work it quickly with your fingers into the dry ingredients until you have what resembles large breadcrumbs. Make sure there are no large lumps of butter left. Add your ice-cold water, holding a little back, and quickly combine until the pastry comes together but is not too wet. Press the pastry together with your fingers to form a ball. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. FOLD THE PASTRY:
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle. Fold it in 3 lengthways, like a letter. Roll again and fold. Repeat this process 3 times.
Then divide the pastry into 2, making one piece slightly larger than the other (for use as our pie lid).
Shape the smaller piece of pastry into a circle and the larger one into a rectangle. Wrap both in clingfilm and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight if possible.
If there is no time to fold the pastry, divide it into 2, making one piece slightly larger than the other. The smaller piece is shaped into a rectangle and will be used for the pie lid. Wrap both pieces of pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.
Filling + Assembly
1. PREPARE THE PIE CRUST:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the round piece of pastry into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish, to allow a little to hang over the edge. The pastry should be about 3 mm thick.
Line your pie dish with the pastry, leaving about 1 cm hanging over the edge.
Refrigerate while you prepare the filling and pie lid.
2. PIE LID:
Roll out your rectangle piece of pastry to a thickness of about 3 mm, making a large rectangle that measures at least 28 cm across. Using a pizza cutter or similar, cut strips of the desired thickness. Place your strips on a cutting board and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. MAKE THE FILLING:
Peel, core and thinly slice the pears. Place in a bowl with the zest and juice from the ½ lemon. Leave to stand for 5 mins and then drain off any excess liquid.
Split the vanilla pod and mash the seeds with 1 tbsp of the cane sugar. Place in a bowl with the remaining cane sugar, brown sugar, spices and flour. Mix well and then add to the bowl with the pear. Mix gently until all the pear slices are coated with the sugar mixture.
Transfer the filling to your lined pie dish. Arrange the pastry strips on top in a lattice pattern. Let the ends hang over the edge so you can seal it neatly with the edge of your pie crust. When the lid is finished, press the edges together along the side to seal the crust and strips. Then remove the excess pastry. Put in the freezer for 15-20 mins or the fridge for at least 30 mins.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220 °C with a shelf placed at the bottom of the oven.
5. BAKE THE PIE:
Beat the egg with the water and brush over your pie, sprinkle with sugar and place in the oven. Bake at 220 °C for 20 mins and then turn the oven down to 190 °C and move your pie up a shelf in the oven so that it is closer to the middle.
Bake the pie until golden and the filling is bubbling. About 40-50 mins.
6. TO SERVE:
Leave to cool on a wire rack for 2-3 hours and serve warm with vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche or whipped cream.
Prepare the pastry well in advance:
You can prepare the pastry 1-3 days before and refrigerate it. The pastry can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in the fridge the night before use.
Whole cardamom seeds:
We highly recommend you crush whole cardamom seeds yourself, but you can substitute with ground cardamom.
Swap out the pear:
Use thin wedges of apple instead.
Make it vegan:
Use vegan baking block for the pastry and brush with plant milk instead of egg.