On the day before Thanksgiving, the first snowflakes of the season were falling slowly as a baking experiment took place in my kitchen. I’d love to say I came up with the name blushing pear, but I found it while searching for a pear and cranberry recipe, and I was immediately hooked. The fruit pairing was inspired by comments from Miss B and Cameron, but I quickly discovered there is not a very good recipe for this sweet combination. And unfortunately, it still remains a mystery since I forgot to write down how I made this experiment. I’ll try to give you some suggestions, but I hope that you experiment with it too because it really makes the day-long wait before Thanksgiving even more suspenseful.
And then, on Thanksgiving morning, I was still craving one more thing. I could not get Z’s sweet potato pie and Caroline’s maple walnut pumpkin suggestions out of my head. Although Juan has a strong aversion to sweet potato things, he finally convinced me to combine these and make another pie! And I am proud to say…He liked it! It could have been because of the delicious brown sugar-maple syrup-walnut topping, but let’s just say he’s warming to sweet potatoes. It makes me even more proud that the recipe came from our local paper. We tweaked it just a bit by using regular pie crust and substituting maple syrup for the honey. Yum!
Our two families joined many other friends, pies and all, on an unusually warm, rainy day. We ate enough hors d’oeuvres to serve as another Thanksgiving dinner. (Although, nothing less would be expected in our house.) We grilled two turkeys, rosemary basil and citrus with bay leaves, outside over the fire. We made enough sides, mostly consisting of potatoes, to fill up our entire kitchen table.
We all squeezed our full bellies in and out of the two long tables to get seconds and thirds. We shouted, laughed, and joked across the tables and sat still for a long time, enjoying the bounty of food before us. But the most enjoyable part of the entire day? Being fortunate enough to have such wonderful food to celebrate with as we were all gathered together in one place.
Blushing Pear Pie
Makes one pie and extra cranberry sauce
Pears, fresh cranberries, two pie crusts, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Please don’t be afraid of fresh cranberries! (I was.) They are precious, little red berries that stain everything they touch, but are so easy to make! I used two bags of fresh cranberries and followed the cooking instructions on the bag. When the berries had burst, I removed half of the pot’s contents and saved for a tart turkey topping.
Add about 1-1/2 cups of sugar, ¼ cup of cornstarch, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the remaining berries. Butter the pie plate, lay in the bottom pie crust, and crimp the edges. Thinly slice a mixture of five ripe and crunchy pears, place a layer of pears in the bottom of the crust, and mix the rest with the cranberries. This proportion makes or breaks the pie, so lean more towards the pear side! Pour the blushing pear mixture in the pie crust so it mounds a little above the rim. Cut and place dough strips for the lattice top and sprinkle top with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 400˚F for about 40 minutes. If you can resist diving right in, let it cool before you slice it so it will stay all layered together.