Braden Family Cookbook

Chuck Braden

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NO PAN PEAR PIE                                 Alton Brown

This is a really cool recipe.  If you are not real familiar with working with pie crust/dough, you might ask for some help on this. 

For the dough:

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, diced
3 tablespoons apple juice concentrate
2 tablespoons cold water


For the filling:

2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon flour
1 1/2 cups pound cake, cubed
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine. Place dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and put the bowl into the refrigerator.  Remove 1/2 stick of butter from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. In a food  processor, add the stick of butter to the flour  mixture. Pulse until the fat completely disappears.   Add the remaining chilled butter in separate batches.  Pulse until flour mixture resembles the size of a pea.  

Combine the apple juice concentrate and the cold  water. Add 1 tablespoon of the juice mixture at a time pulsing as you pour. After 3 tablespoons of the liquid, check the dough for consistency. It should hold  together when compressed but remain relatively dry to the touch. If it does not bind, add a little more liquid. Remove from the processor and form the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in waxed paper or  parchment paper and rest in refrigerator for 20 minutes.  

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add pears to the pan and toss for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to toss for 30 seconds. Add sugar and cook until the pears have softened. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, and the butter and melt slowly.  Fold in the blueberries. Remove from heat. Sprinkle on the flour and combine well. Allow to cool to room  temperature.  

Place dough on a floured piece of parchment and roll out to a 1/4‑inch thick disk. Transfer to a baking sheet. Place cubed pound cake in the middle of the dough, leaving a 3‑inch margin of crust on all sides.  Spoon filling over the cake cubes and top the pears with 1‑ounce of cubed butter. Lift excess crust onto filling and repeat in a clockwise fashion until a top lip has formed around the edge of the whole tart. Brush the tart with the egg wash and sprinkle the crust with     the sugar.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the filling begins to bubble and the crust is golden brown.  

Remove from the sheet pan immediately and cool on pie rack.