I love cheese and fruit, so this pie was a natural pairing for me. Sweet and spicy wine poached pears and a flaky, buttery cheese crust makes for a winning dessert you’ll want to make again and again. If you’re serving this for Thanksgiving, bake leaf-shaped pie pastry on top for a festive look. —Alexandra Penfold, Brooklyn, New York
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 ounces Gruyere cheese, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup port wine
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 medium pears (about 3 pounds) peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Vanilla ice cream, optional
- Place flour, cheese, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until blended. Add butter; pulse until butter is the size of peas. While pulsing, add just enough ice water to form moist crumbs. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
- In a large saucepan, combine water, wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla and spices; bring to a boil. Add pears to poaching liquid. Cook, uncovered, 10-15 minutes or until tender.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove pears and cool slightly. Refrigerate until cooled; discard cinnamon stick. Meanwhile, return poaching liquid to a boil. Cook 12-15 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into reduced liquid. Return to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Pour into a 1-cup measuring cup. Cool slightly; refrigerate until chilled.
- Preheat oven to 400°. On a well floured surface, roll one half of dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges. Add pear filling; pour syrup over pears. Roll remaining dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle. Cut decorative cutouts from remaining pastry and arrange over filling; re-roll scraps as needed. Brush pastry with egg. Place pie on a baking sheet.
- Bake 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. If desired, serve with ice cream. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Pear Gruyere Pie in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2016, p130
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