Vanilla Bean Apple-Pear Pie with Walnut Crust

This recipe requires the filling to be cooked prior to baking the pie- it is well worth the extra work. The pie filling is absolutely loaded with fruit as a result. The combination of pears and vanilla bean with the apples created a very special pie. The toasted walnuts in the crust were another wonderful addition.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.  I modified the method. I may have to include it at part of the Thanksgiving meal next year.

2021 Update: I included this pie in our assortment of Thanksgiving desserts and it was the clear winner. It just may be my new favorite pie!

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 1 1/2 ounces walnuts , toasted and chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water (I used about 4 to 5 tablespoons)
For the Filling & To Finish:

 

  • 5 to 6 Granny Smith apples (I used 6 medium apples)
  • 3 firm-ripe Bosc pears (I used 3 very large pears)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 5 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • turbinado sugar or fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

To Make the Crust:

  1. Place walnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. Pulse flour, toasted walnuts, granulated sugar, and salt in a food processor until walnuts are finely chopped.
  3. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
  4. With the food processor running, drizzle in 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. Add water until the mixture comes together when pressed in your hand (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse.
  5. Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece. Bring edges of wrap together to gather dough. Press into disks.
  6. Roll out disks, still wrapped in plastic, to 1/2-inch-thick rounds (8 inches in diameter). Refrigerate at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.
  7. Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes before rolling.
  8. Roll out 1 disk of dough into a 12-inch round (a generous 1/8-inch thickness) on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, and trim edge, leaving a 1-inch overhang. (I used a deep dish ceramic pie plate.)
  9. Roll out remaining disk of dough to a generous 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate, along with dough in pie plate, until firm, about 1 hour.

To Make the Filling & To Finish:

  1. Peel and core apples, and cut into eighths (you should have about 7 cups).
  2. Peel and core pears, and cut into eighths (you should have about 5 cups).
  3. In a large bowl, toss apple and pear slices with salt, granulated sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod, and lemon juice.
  4. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add fruit mixture, and cook, stirring, 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; let filling cool completely. Remove vanilla bean pod.
  7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection, with rack in lower third of oven.
  8. Pour filling into dough-lined pie plate, and brush edge of dough with some egg wash.
  9. Cut dough on baking sheet into strips. Weave dough strips into a lattice over filling, and press overhang onto edge of crust. Trim edge, fold under, and crimp as desired.
  10. Roll any trimmed pieces 1/4-inch thick to make leaf decorations, or others, if desired.
  11. Brush top of pie with more egg wash, then sprinkle with turbinado or sanding sugar. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. (I brushed the pie with egg wash after freezing.)
  12. Place the pie on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Cover the edge of the pie with a shield and place a foil dome over the top of the entire pie to prevent over-browning.
  13. Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling through lattice, about 1 hour.
  14. Remove the dome and shield and continue to bake an additional 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  15. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving or storing.

Note: Pie can be stored at room temperature 1 day.

About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

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