Pear, Brown Butter, & Vanilla Bean Pie

Ingredients

For the crust

    • 2 ½ cups White Whole Wheat Flour or All-purpose Flour
    • 3 tablespoons fine Cane Sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
    • ¼ cup Shortening
    • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) Butter, cold and cut into small cubes
    • ¼ cup + Ice Water

For the filling

    • 6 tablespoons Butter
    • 3 pounds Bosc or Anjou Pears, peeled, cored, and sliced (roughly 5-7 large pears)
    • ¾ cup Turbinado Sugar (or 2/3 cup granulated sugar)
    • 3 tablespoons Honey
    • 1 Vanilla Bean, sliced lengthwise, seeds scraped
    • ¼ teaspoon Ground Cardamom
    • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
    • 3 tablespoon Tapioca Starch (or 2 tablespoons Cornstarch)
    • 1 tablespoon Water
    • 1 egg, beaten

Directions

For the crust

  1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an 's' blade. Pulse the mixture a few times until blended together.
  2. Add the shortening to the food processor and pulse once. Add the cubes of butter, one at a time, pulsing a few times after the addition of each cube.
  3. With the processor running, drizzle in the ice water until the mixture starts to form into large clumps. Do not add too much water. Dough should not be sticky or wet, but should come together to form a nice dough.
  4. Divide the dough in half, wrap up one half and set aside.
  5. Roll the other half of dough into a ball and place in between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll to a circle that is 1½-2 inches larger in circumference than your pie dish.
  6. Place the sheet of dough over the top of your pie dish and remove parchment paper. Press the dough in to fit the bottom and sides of the dish. There should be a little bit of dough left hanging over the edges. Trim dough around the edge of the pie.
  7. Place the crust in the fridge and make the pie filling.

For the filling

  1. Place the butter in a large pan and melt over medium/high heat. Continue cooking until butter begins to foam. Butter will begin to brown and give of a nutty aroma. Watch butter carefully to ensure it does not burn. As soon as the butter is a light, even brown color, add the pears and turbinado sugar to the pan and toss ingredients together. Continue cooking on medium/high heat for 5 minutes. The pears will soften and the butter/sugar mixture will begin to caramelize. Add the honey, vanilla beans, cardamom, and cloves to the mixture.
  2. In a small bowl, stir the tapioca starch and water together. Pour into the pear mixture and stir in quickly. Cook for 1 more minute, or until the sauce surrounding the pears has thickened.
  3. Scoop the pear mixture into a bowl and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Once the pears have cooled down a bit, spoon the mixture evenly into the dough lined pie dish.
  5. Place the remaining half of the pie dough in between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to a thickness of 1/16". Cover the top of the pie with dough as desired.
  6. Seal the edges of the pie crust.
  7. Cover the top of the pie with a loose layer of tin foil.
  8. Bake on the middle rack of an oven at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
  9. Remove the tin foil and brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg. Sprinkle top of pie with coarse sugar, if desired.
  10. Continue baking the pie until the filling is bubbling and top is golden brown, another 20 minutes or so. The center of the filling should be thick and gel-like.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.