This is the perfect pie for the holidays. It’s sweet with baked pears and a little bit tart with fresh cranberries. It’s a Christmas Spice Pie.
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour scooped & leveled (390 grams, plus more for rolling)
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
- 9 ounce very cold high-fat, European-style unsalted butter, cut into ½‑inch dice
- 2 ice cubes
- ⅓ cup very cold water (or as needed)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup very hot water
- 5 ripe pears (cored, peeled, and cut into 1‑inch chunks)
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 large egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon water (as egg wash)
- 2 tablespoon turbinado sugar
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment pulse flour and 1 teaspoon salt 5 or 6 times until well combined. Add butter, and continue pulsing 10 or 12 more times until the mixture is crumbly and coarse, with various-sized but obvious chunks of butter scattered throughout.
Place two ice cubes, broken up if necessary into the feed tube of the food processor. With machine running, pour up to ⅓ cup cold water through the ice filled feed tube a tablespoon at a time until dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl in jagged clumps. Don’t let the machine run too long and don’t worry if you don’t use all the water. Overworked dough and/or too much water are the main culprits in pastry that is tough or dense. However, in warm weather or dry climates you may need up to an additional 2 tablespoons more cold water.
Divide dough in half, shape into 2 discs, one about 6‑inches in diameter and 3/4‑inch thick, the other about 4‑inches in diameter and 3/4‑inch thick. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate least 1 hour (or up to 2 days), or freeze up to 1 month.
Place oven rack in center position. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the dried cranberries into a small heatproof bowl, pour hot water over the berries; set aside at least 20 minutes to plump.
Use a lightly floured surface and a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the larger disc of chilled dough to about a 13-inch round, a generous 1/8‑inch thick. Carefully fold dough in half, and slide it onto rolling pin. Transfer to a 9‑inch deep dish, or a 10-inch standard pie pan. Unfold the dough, easing it gently into pan; do not stretch dough. Fold excess dough back forming a raised lip, crimp the edge decoratively as you like. Place the pan into the refrigerator to chill at least 10 minutes.
Roll the second disc of dough out into as large a 1/8‑inch thick round as possible. Use a cookie cutter of your choice to cut out as many shapes as possible. Re-roll the scraps if you like to get a few more. Place the cutouts onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the sheet in the refrigerator to chill at least 10 minutes.
Toss together pears, fresh cranberries, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, orange zest, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Drain the dried cranberries well, then stir them into the bowl too.
Remove the lined pie pan and the pastry cutouts from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the nuts evenly across the bottom of the lined pie pan. Scrape the pear and cranberry mixture, including any accumulated liquid, into the lined pie pan. Spread the mixture evenly, compacting it slightly with the back of a spoon to assure a well packed pie. Place the pastry cutouts decoratively on top of the pie, using the egg wash as glue. Then brush all the exposed pastry with the remaining egg wash. Sprinkle the top of pie with turbinado sugar.
Place the pie on a rimmed parchment lined baking sheet and place it into the heated oven. Bake 90 to 100 minutes, or until the pie is well browned and bubbling aggressively.
Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 90 minutes before slicing.