Friday, September 13, 2013
There's something about a pie. It's homey. Nostalgic. Comforting. The cozy interior of Hoosier Mama Pie Company is tiny: a couple of tables and chairs, an old sea-foam green dresser serving as a checkout counter, and a display case full of pie. But it's where I want to go when my spirits need lifting. I made my husband take me there after some careless knife handling necessitated a trip to the emergency room a few years ago. I sat there with my mom, sharing buttery pie and hot coffee after I found out I had lost a baby, only 8 weeks into my first pregnancy, almost exactly two years ago.
Paula Haney's new cookbook, The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie, is a veritable encyclopedia of pie knowledge. Step-by-step photos of important, hard-to-describe processes (pie crust, anyone?), funny stories, and page after page of fantastic recipes. Pear-raspberry was the first one to jump out at me, because the window for both fruits at the farmers market is happening right now. I know it won't come as a shock to you that I love to cook, and that time in the kitchen is relaxing and very rewarding for me, but making a pie is a special sort of culinary meditation. Mix the dough. Wait. Roll out the dough and shape it into a crust. Peel and slice the fruit. Toss. Wait. Bake for a long time. Wait. Wait. Slice and eat. It's almost a full day from start to finish, and so worth it. Every step is magic. And then, of course, there's pie for breakfast the next day: one of the highest pleasures in this life.
from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie
Make sure to use soft, really ripe pears. I didn't, and while the flavor was still amazing, the pears were a little crunchy. This recipe is printed as is from the cookbook. I'm not going to print any other recipes from this book, and I'm not including the crust recipe, because I think you should just go buy it. It's awesome. Go.
1 9-inch double-crust pie dough (preferably from page 24 of the cookbook linked above)
5 cups ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups raspberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch kosher salt
Place the pears, raspberries, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Do not mix. Place the sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and salt in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the fruit, until most of the mixture is absorbed. Take care not to break up the raspberries. Sprinkle Crust Dust (a mixture of equal parts flour and sugar, designed to absorb some of the fruit juice and ensure a not-soggy bottom crust) into the empty pie shell. Pile the fruit into the shell and smooth the top with a spatula. Finish the pie with a lattice top, and freeze for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the lattice with Pie Wash (equal parts cream and whole milk) - be amazed at how easily you can brush a slightly frozen pie crust without smashing it - and sprinkle liberally with coarse-grained sugar. Bake for 60-80 minutes, rotating 180 degrees every 20 minutes, until the crust is dark golden brown and the juices are bubbling thickly. Cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.