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)
- 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:
- 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.
- Pulse flour, toasted walnuts, granulated sugar, and salt in a food processor until walnuts are finely chopped.
- Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes before rolling.
- 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.)
- 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:
- Peel and core apples, and cut into eighths (you should have about 7 cups).
- Peel and core pears, and cut into eighths (you should have about 5 cups).
- In a large bowl, toss apple and pear slices with salt, granulated sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod, and lemon juice.
- Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add fruit mixture, and cook, stirring, 10 minutes.
- Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; let filling cool completely. Remove vanilla bean pod.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection, with rack in lower third of oven.
- Pour filling into dough-lined pie plate, and brush edge of dough with some egg wash.
- 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.
- Roll any trimmed pieces 1/4-inch thick to make leaf decorations, or others, if desired.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove the dome and shield and continue to bake an additional 15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving or storing.
Note: Pie can be stored at room temperature 1 day.