I saw a recipe for a quince and pear pie the other day and thought it was a brilliant idea. What could be more perfect for fall? However, when I started reading the recipe I was quickly disappointed - the recipe called for making a quince paste, and layering the paste with cubed pears in the pie. I just think the idea of putting a paste in a pie, especially a fruit paste, is rather uninspiring. Spending three hours to make said fruit paste - I was even less inspired.
However, I still liked the idea of making a quince and pear pie, and now that I've got my quince poaching technique down, I proceeded without a recipe. Paul - pie maker extraordinaire - made the crust using a combination of butter and shortening (non-hydrogenated of course). The pie came out perfectly, filling the house with the smell of pastry, fruit, and spice. I know everyone is starting to plan their Thanksgiving menus, and this pie might just be on ours.
Quince and Pear Pie
for the quinces:
2 quinces, peeled, cored, and cubed
1 cup sugar
juice of one lemon
2 cups water or white wine
1 star anise pod
1 cinnamon stick
for the pie:
2 lbs pears, peeled, cored, and cubed
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
prepared crust for a double crust pie
1 egg, for egg wash
1. Place the sugar, lemon, water or wine, anise, and cinnamon in a pot and bring to a low simmer. Peel, core, and cube the quince and slip the pieces into the simmering water as you work. Cook the quince for about one hour, until rose-colored and tender but still firm. Depending on your quince it may take more or less time. Remove the quince from the pot and let the liquid continue to simmer until it is reduced to a thick syrup. Discard spices and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll out your two prepared crusts. Fit the bottom crust into the pie pan and place the pie pan, and the remaining top crust back into the refrigerator. Peel, core, and cube the pears and add them to a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, allspice and cinnamon. Let the mixture sit for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Fold in the quince fruit.
3. Scoop the fruit out with a slotted spoon into the pie crust, leaving behind any juices in the bowl. Drizzle the quince syrup over the fruit (if the syrup has solidified just reheat it until pourable). Cut the second crust into strips and weave them into a lattice pattern on top of the pie. Trim the crust and pinch the edges closed. Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water and then brush over the crust. Sprinkle some sugar over the crust as well.
4. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the pie juices are bubbling and the crust is golden. Let cool on a rack.