Friday, September 10, 2010

Pear Pie (or tart) with Struesel Topping

Something that I look forward to every summer is making fresh pear pie when the fruit is so succulent and sweet that the juice drips off your elbow.  There are few things on the planet more satisfying than a perfectly ripe pear with smooth and luscious flesh.

I discovered this recipe several years ago, and unfortunately can't remember where so I can't give credit where it's due.  I have, of course, tweaked it since.  I usually make it as a pie, but I have this wonderful rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom that I just had to use, so the batch shown is made as a tart.  The preparation is the same, but the cooking time may need to be modified just a bit.

I love the added dimensions of the lemon zest and the crispy oatmeal topping in this recipe.  Truly delicious.
Pear Pie (or Tart) with Struesel Topping

Pastry for a 10" single crust pie*
3/4 cup sugar
3 T. quick cooking tapioca
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
1 t. lemon zest
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
6 large ripe pears, peeled and thinly sliced.

3/4 c. quick oats
3 T. sugar
1 T. flour
1/4 c. cold butter

Mix the sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, butter, zest, spices and salt, then add the pears and toss gently to coat.  Line a 10 inch pie pan with pastry and flute the edges according to your preference.  Alternatively, you may use a 10 inch round or square tart pan.  Add the pear filling and  spread around evenly.

Prepare the topping by mixing together the oats, sugar and flour, then cut in the butter until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle evenly over the filling.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.  This is fabulous served warm with vanilla ice cream.

*You may also make this as a traditional two crust pie, and the cooking time is about the same.  Cover with foil or a pie shield if it starts to brown too quickly.  I like to brush top crusts with milk and sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar before baking for a lovely sparkly finish.  I also recommend placing the pie or tart on another baking sheet before putting it in the oven.  As you can see from the second photo, drips happen.

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