Archive for September, 2014

Ginger Cranberry Pear Pie


For the Crust:

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 3 pounds Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

For the Topping:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm


  1. Make the Dough: Put the flour, sugar and salt in the processor bowl of a food processor and pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of water as you continue to pulse, adding more water a tablespoon at a time if necessary; stop pulsing when the dough just starts to come together. Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. The dough can also be frozen for up to 2 months and thawed in the refrigerator.
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, and gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan and against the sides. Leave the overhanging dough in place and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until completely chilled and firm.
  3. Remove the dough-lined pie plate from the refrigerator and trim the overhanging dough to ½-inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Tuck the overhang under itself, making the folded edge flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the dough, then transfer the dough-lined plate to the freezer for 1 hour before using.
  4. Make the Filling: In a large bowl, toss the pears with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave until the pears turn translucent and release their juices, 4 to 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Uncover and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  5. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Prepare the Topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, crystallized ginger, ground ginger and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture is completely moistened. Let cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  7. Finish the Filling & Assemble the Pie: Combine the cranberries, remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, and fresh ginger in a food processor and pulse until the cranberries are roughly chopped, about 5 pulses. Drain the cooled pears and discard the liquid. Return the pears to the now-empty bowl and add the cranberry mixture, stirring to combine. Transfer the mixture to the chilled dough-lined pie plate. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the pear filling, breaking apart any large clumps.
  8. Bake the Pie: Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the juices are bubbling and the topping is a deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely (about 4 hours), before serving. The pie can be stored, covered, at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Note: Frozen cranberries can be thawed and substituted for fresh cranberries.

Adapted from cook’s illustrated – http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2013/11/21/cranberry-ginger-pear-pie/


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Caramel Spice Pear Cupcakes


2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup milk
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 cup chopped peeled pear (1 large)
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

¾ cup butter or margarine
1½ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
⅓ cup milk
3½-4 cup powdered sugar

SUGARED PEARS (optional)
39 caramels, unwrapped (from a 14 oz pkg)
Yellow sanding sugar & green decorating icing (from 6.4oz can)


Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups, grease bottoms and sides of muffin cups with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about one-third at a time, and milk, about half at a time, beating just until blended. Mix pear with 1 tbsp flour; stir into batter.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each with about 3 tablespoons batter or until about two-thirds full.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; place on cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in 2 qt saucepan, melt 3/4c butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 c. milk. Heat to boiling stirring constantly. remove from heat; cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

Gradually stir powdered sugar into cooled brown sugar mixture until smooth and spreadable. Frost cupcakes.

Optional: Top each with sugared pear.

Optional: On a small microwavable plate, microwave 6 caramels at a time on High 10-15 seconds or until softened. For each pear, mold 1 1/2 caramels into a pear shape. Cut 1 caramel into 10 pieces; shape each into stem. With paring knife, make tiny slit in top of each pear; press stem into pear. Roll pears, but not stems, in yellow sanding sugar. Repeat with remaining caramels to make 24 pears.

Caramel Pear Cupcakes

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Black-Bottom Pear Pie

1 ½ lbs firm pears

3 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 sheet (9” square) frozen puff pastry, thawed (or favorite pie crust)

1/3 C chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella

¼ C roasted, skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped, for garnish

Crème fraiche, for topping (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Stem, peel and halve the pears using a melon baller, scoop out the cores. In a medium bowl, toss the pears with sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and 1 Tbsp. water. In a 2-qt baking dish, arrange the pears in a signle layer, cut side down. Pour the juices from the bowl over the pears. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Let the pears cool, basting occasionally with the juices in the dish.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12” square, then trim to a 11” round. Fit the pastry into a 9” pie pan; crimp the edges. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans; bake for 22 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking until golden, about 8 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
  3. Spread the chocolate-hazelnut spread on the bottom and up the sides of the crust. Slice the pear halves lengthwise into eighths and arrange in the piecrust. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts. Serve within 4 hours, with dollops of crème fraiche, if using.

Everyday with Rachel Ray, November 2013 edition.

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3-4 pluots; pitted and finely diced
2 Asian Pears; cored and finely diced
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 – 1 Jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste


Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and serve with tortilla chips or over grilled fish.
May be made a day ahead.

From Kingsburg Orchards (www.kingsburgorchards.com)

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2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces), plus extra for dusting pans

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
2 (15 oz) cans pears, packed in light syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs at room temperature
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons light molasses or mild molasses
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers. Combine spices except the ginger in a small bowl.  Heat 4 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter is light brown and has faint nutty aroma, 2 to 4 minutes. Add spices and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Drain the pears and reserve 1/3 cup of the liquid. Finely chop the canned pears and set aside.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In another small bowl, gently whisk eggs, yolks, and vanilla to combine.

In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream remaining 12 tablespoons butter with sugar and molasses at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl twice with rubber spatula.0

Reduce to medium speed and add cooled butter and spice mixture, ginger, reserved liquid from canned pears and half of egg mixture; mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining egg mixture; scrape down bowl again. Reduce to low speed; add about one-third flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk, mixing until just incorporated after each addition, about 5 seconds.

Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Fold the chopped pears into the batter until fully incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

2½ sticks unsalted butter softened
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
Pinch salt
2 Tablespoons heavy cream or half & half
1/4 cup caramel topping for garnish

In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the vanilla paste into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds; scrape bowl, add heavy cream or half & half, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Using a star tip with a pastry bag, pipe the frosting onto the cupcake. Drizzle the caramel topping over the frosted cupcakes using a fork or squeeze bottle for garnish.

Read more at http://joelens.blogspot.com/2010/10/caramel-pear-ginger-cupcakes.html#18iwvWFEOzJCwYW6.99

Recipes adapted from Cooks Illustrated

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Baked Apple Butterscotch Pudding

This old-fashioned baked pudding is made with apples, butter, brown sugar, and other ingredients.

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced apples mixed with 1/3 cup brown sugar


In a saucepan, combine 1 cup brown sugar, and cornstarch, 1/4 cup butter. Stir in 1 cup water; cook over low heat until thickened. Pour mixture into a lightly buttered 10×6-inch baking dish. In a bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and 2/3 cup brown sugar. Blend in 1/4 cup butter and the 1/2 cup milk, stirring just until dampened. Stir in the sliced apples with 1/3 cup brown sugar. Pour apple batter over syrup in baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

About.com – Diana Rattray

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Curried Apple Soup


1 Tbsp butter
2 shallots, minced
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 ½ tsp curry powder
2 tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1” pieces
1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 tsp coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
3 ¾ C homemade or low-sodium stock (chicken or veggie)
½ C heavy cream or milk
Freshly ground pepper
Sour cream, for garnish


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add ginger and curry powder; cooking, stirring, 1 minute. Add apples, potato, salt and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook until potato is tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
  2. Use an immersion blender, or transfer mixture to the jar of a blender, working in batches if necessary so as not to fill more than halfway; puree just until smooth (do not overprocess). Return soup to pan; stir in cream, and season with salt & pepper. Place over medium heat until soup is just heated through; do not let it boil. Divide soup among serving bowls, and garnish with sour cream

Serves 4

From www.marthastewart.com

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