Last year, my family and I were over visiting my grandma one night. She and my grandpa had just put up about a million jars of spiced pear jam. She sent us each home with a little jar to sample, and I wolfed it down embarrassingly fast on toast every morning for breakfast and in the afternoon for a little snack.
I haven’t stopped thinking about that jam since. I got the recipe, but, having only about 20″ x 20″ of counter space to my name, I’ve given up hopes of canning my own at present. So, instead, I just think about it, remembering how a-ma-zing it was. Sigh…
So, how to capture that same unbelievably delicious flavor without canning jam?
I find this is often the answer I’m looking for in my life. Pie is the i-ching of desserts. What should I make for my big family dinner? Pie. What should I take to my neighbor who just had a baby? Pie. What am I craving right this very minute? Pie.
It’s what The Godfather is to men in You’ve Got Mail.
Michael and I lay in bed the other night discussing food as we were falling asleep and we made a plan for capturing the flavor of spiced pear jam in a pie. This was the brain-child of our musings.
A few notes about this pie: 1) you can expect that your house will smell like heaven on earth and the holidays and lots of good memories. 2) You can expect it to be magically delicious. 3)You can expect that it’s not especially subtle when it comes to spices.
If you feel iffy about pears in pie (have no fear), you can certainly use all apples. If you’re nervous about having an over-spiced pie, you can tone it down by using less than the recommended amount of spices. If you don’t like cranberries, you can leave them out. It’s very flexible and forgiving. Just as a pie should be.
For the pie:
- 1 pie shell
- 5 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 3 small pears, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/3c dried cranberries, (or more or less to taste)
- 1/4c sugar
- 1/4c brown sugar
- 1/4c flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2tsp cinnamon
- scant 1/2tsp ginger
- 1/4–1/2tsp cloves (I used a generous, heaping 1/4tsp)
- pinch salt
For the topping:
- 1/2c cold butter
- 1c brown sugar
- 1/2c oatmeal
- 1/2c flour
- 1/4–1/2c chopped pecans
- 1/4tsp salt
- In a large bowl, combine apples, pears, and cranberries. Add in sugar, brown sugar, flour, vanilla, spices, and salt. Pour filling into pie shell.
- In a medium bowl, blend topping incredients until well combined and very crumbly. I use a pastry blender, but you could use two knives or two forks. Sprinkle over filling.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until crumble topping is very golden and set.
- Cool completely before serving.