Thursday, December 2, 2010

Playdate Special: Pear and Cranberry Sauce Skillet Pie

Little I knew about the sisters Tatin when I chose to prepare this pie, inspired by the classic French dessert, with my leftover homemade cranberry sauce. So, after reading the many stories about it and learning some basics about its preparation, I waited for Darienne to arrive to talk about and prepare it. My plan was to invite the kids to cut the beautiful and soft ripe Williams pear and make the design of the pie on the bottom of the skillet. But I also had other plans for Darienne: a package of marshmallow and another of powdered sugar were over the counter with my hopes that she would teach me how to prepare marshmallow fondant.

Of course, she did. And I think the result was so good that I will dare try preparing another batch by myself soon.

Anyway, back to the Tatin's pie -- made originally with apples, nothing else than apples: Its preparation is charming, the ingredients are elegant, and the result can be amazing if you have the courage to flip the pie at the right time. To prepare the top of a pie on the bottom of a oven-proof skillet is the beginning of the reverse process. The boys were too busy to come to the kitchen and help, so we let them play soccer in the backyard. After 30 minutes we were devouring the pie with our eyes. And we loved its taste and texture. One of my boys had a big slice for dessert and asked for more. I must admit that we moms loved it so much that even if the kids are not interested on trying it, the beautiful creation of the French sisters will be inspiration over and over again in our kitchens.

Pear and Cranberry Sauce Skillet Pie

I used frozen pie dough from Trader Joe's, thawed, but you can use your own recipe. Also, my cranberry sauce was made with apple juice, Concord grape kosher wine, and juniper berries. Darienne chose cardamom to be the seasoning for the pears.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown turbinado raw sugar
1 large ripe pear, cored and sliced
1 cup cranberry sauce (homemade with the fruit -- see recipe below) *
1 round pie crust (good one here for paté brisée)

* For the cranberry sauce:
1 package cranberries
2 cups unfiltered apple juice
4 tablespoons raw brown cane sugar
10 juniper berries
2 tablespoons sweet Concord grape wine (or any brandy)

To make the cranberry sauce: Cook all ingredients over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Let cool before serving.

To make pie: Thaw pie crust to use it at room temperature. Preheat oven to the temperature recommended by the package, or the one you use normally. Now, on the stove top, melt butter in a shallow, ovenproof skillet. Before it gets brown, add sugar. Arrange slices of pear in the skillet, over the melted butter and sugar, to cover the entire surface. Cook on medium heat until pear slices are almost translucent. Distribute cranberry sauce evenly over the pear slices.

In the meantime, stretch pie dough to the circumference to fit the top of the skillet. When all is bubbling and smells good, lower the heat and cover the fruit with the pie dough, forming a lid for the skillet. With the help of a wooden spoon or spatula, push the dough down against the edges of the skillet.

Remove skillet from stove top and put in the hot oven for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool down for few minutes. When the edges pull back from the edges of the skillet, cover with the skillet with a serving plate and flip it. Shake a little bit to help all fruit to come together to the plate. Good luck and bon appetit!

1 comment:

Myrna said...

I loved the photo, the pie looks like the pies of fairy tales!


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