As I’ve mentioned before, I just adore Pushing Daisies. Too bad the average television consumer seems to prefer shows about slutty Atlanta housewives to anything with substance. Anyway, my favorite soon too be cancelled drama features a pie shop, and it seems every episode I watch I am more and more inspired to make pie. Which is good since pies are already my favorite thing to make.
Last season, one of the characters, Chuck, made a few pies with gruyere baked into the crusts. I’ve experimented with baking cheese into the crust, but when I was trying to think how I could schnazz up my pear pie, I was inspired to bake cheese into the pie as well. What I mean is, putting cheese not only in the crust, but also in the filling. To compliment this slightly cheesy pear delight, I made homemade vanilla ice cream with just a dash of ginger.
This is really a wonderful pie. Apples this time of year are not worth it, but pears are just perfection. And I’m just such a sucker for hot pie served with cold, fresh ice cream. The cheese in the crust is subtle and rich, and the cheese in the filling adds a creaminess and a punch to the flavor of the pear that really accentuates the fruit. In addition to the cheese, I also baked honey, cinnamon, and ginger into the crust.
As for the ice cream, I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker that is so… well so cool. The recipe is from Seasoned in the South, a book of recipes from Chapel Hill’s (amazing) restaurant Crooks Corner. Homemade ice cream is easy to make, and if you have a machine, why pay for it? Come summer I’ll share some sorbet recipes (inspired by another amazing eatery in DC, Dolcezza). One day I’ll figure out how to make Ben & Jerry’s “The Gobfather,” which is the ice cream that single-handedly got me through having mono. I’ll probably gain a few hundred pounds, but each one will be, as my grandmother says, delightful.
Pear Gruyere Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1/2 stick of butter
2/3 cup sugar
Dash of ginger
Dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 tsp honey (2 for filling, 2 for topping)
1/3 cup shredded gruyere cheese, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
Pie crust (recipe here)
Peel and chop your pears in to bite size pieces. Melt butter in saute pan. Add in pears, sugar, and spices. Let simmer for twenty minutes or so, until pears are very tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in flour, remove from heat. Set aside and allow to return to room temperature.
Prepare your dough. Stir honey and cheese into your filling. Spoon filling into dough, and place the top crust over the filling, pinching the edges. Whisk together honey and egg. Brush onto the top of the pie crust.
Bake at 375* for 45 minutes
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Source: Crooks Corner
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 split vanilla bean
3/4 stick butter
Dash of ginger
Separate eggs and whisk with sugar. Bring one cup of heavy cream and the milk almost to a boil, with the vanilla bean. As soon as it’s scalded, remove from heat. Put in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (or a double boiler) and stir constantly until it begins to thicken and steam a little, around ten minutes.
Lower the heat and stir in a quarter of the butter. Remove from heat and stir the rest of the butter in, a little bit at a time. Make sure the butter is completely absorbed and melted. Add the rest of the cream. Make sure to remove the vanilla bean, and sift or strain for any lumps. Chill the custard for an hour in the refrigerator.
Churn in the ice cream maker until it is solid, then freeze until you intend to serve it. Serving it right out of the ice cream maker is an option, but frankly it’s a little mushier than you want it. Firming it up in the freezer ensures that you serve more than just vanilla mush.