Who doesn't like pies? The buttery crust alone draws crowds from all over! The Foodies+ community on Google Plus dedicated a whole month for pies. Community members are challenged to concoct pies with seasonal ingredients using at least two from a list prepared by the moderators that reflect the taste of autumn.
I rarely post savory recipes on my blog, but this time I wanted to go with something different, simple and savory.
The filling is made from a delicious trio of simple, yet complementary ingredients: pear, pecan and cheddar. Pears are known to complement the flavors of both nuts and cheese. Their mild sweetness softens the sharpness of cheese and brings out the nuttiness of pecans.
The cheese that you would use for this pie depends on your personal preference, but you do need to use one with character and depth of flavor. You can choose a blue cheese for example, if you appreciate their strong and sharp flavor. However, keep in mind that very strong cheeses do not suit the palate of many.
Though it was my first time trying this food trio in a pie, it certainly won't be the last one! The result was just perfect: nutty, buttery, and creamy with a touch of sweetness.
Let´s start baking (yields 4 servings; 18 cm pan):
For the crust you need:
- 175 g pastry flour
- 100 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 15 g sugar
- pinch of salt
- a dust of cinnamon (optional)
- 25 g grated cheddar
- 20 ml cider vinegar
- 25 ml cold water
In a bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, cheese and mix. Add the butter and work it quickly with the tip of your fingers or a dough blender. Add the vinegar and mix. Slowly start adding the water. Keep in mind that each flour absorbs water differently so don´t add all of your water at once. Drop the dough on your working surface and just gather it until it comes together. Don't overwork the dough as this would activate the gluten and it won't be crumbly. Wrap the dough in plastic and leave it in the fridge for at least an hour. You can do this step one day in advance.
For the filling:
- 300 g pears, cored and cut into wedges (you need pears that withstand cooking and have a nice round flavor)
- 2 small shallots, cut into wedges
- 50 g chopped pecans
- 1 tbsp honey
- 50 g cheddar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 15 g butter
- 1 tbsp of flour
Over a medium heat, add the butter and oil and wait a bit until the butter melts before adding the shallots. Cook until softened. Add the pecans and allow them to toast and soak in the flavors. Add the pears, salt, pepper, the mustard and cook for few minutes. Don't overcook the pears, you just want to sauté them. Add the honey and cinnamon, mix well and turn off the heat.
Honey and cinnamon sauce:
- 40 g honey
- 20 g water
- 1 stick of cinnamon
Mix everything in a saucepan and then bring to a boil for few minutes. Leave to cool.
Roll the dough to about 5 mm thick, arrange it over your tart pan, prick it and put it in the fridge again for 15 to 30 minutes.
Mix the flour with the cooked pears then add the cheese and mix well with the filling. Now spread the filling over the dough.
You can decorate the pie with the leftover dough, it's not mandatory but it does add an extra touch. Brush the pie edges with cream and bake it in a preheated oven (175C) for about 35 to 40 min. Let the pie rest for about 10 minutes before serving.