I had a bit of a love affair with pears last winter, maybe you remember? I thought that maybe after a few months of berries and mangoes I might have moved on from this obsession. But to be completely honest I couldn’t help myself, and snapped up the some of the first pears I saw at the markets. It gave me the same kind of rush as buying a fabulous new coat. This is what they turned into – a pear, vanilla and cardamom lattice pie for the annual Easter lunch with the whole family at my Nanna’s house.
I often make a dessert for these rather large gatherings and I love making something different every time. It’s nice to have a panel of willing taste testers, who I know will be honest with me! In the past there has been Red Velvet cake for Christmas, cheesecake last Easter, and I’m already thinking about what I might bring to Mother’s Day lunch! This pie went down a real treat, with only one slice left at the end of the day.
I loved that it wasn’t too sweet, the pastry was buttery and flaky and I even managed a proper lattice pattern, unlike last time! The original recipe from the beautiful blog Milk Eggs Chocolate suggests using agave nectar in place of raw sugar in the filling. I didn’t have any handy, but this substitution would make the pie entirely sugar free. The only thing I might change for next time is to possibly experiment with a little brown butter infused with the vanilla bean in the filling, or to add a splash of brandy or pear liqueur. That would turn this pie from something special to something extraordinary.
Pear Vanilla and Cardamom Lattice Pie
Adapted from Milk Eggs Chocolate
• 3 cups plain flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt
• 220g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1cm cubes
• 8 tablespoons (or more) ice water
• 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
• 4-5 medium size pears, cored and thinly sliced
• ¼ – 1/3 cup raw sugar
• ¼ cup plain flour
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1. To make the pastry, blend flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until a coarse meal forms.
2. Add 8 tablespoons of ice water and the vinegar and blend until moist clumps form. If it looks too dry, add more water one tablespoon at a time.
3. Gather dough together and turn onto a work surface. Divide in half and flatten each into a disk. Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes – 1 hour.
4. In the meantime, combine pears, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, cardamom and vanilla seeds in a large bowl. Toss to blend well and let stand for about 30 minutes, or until the dry ingredients are moistened.
5. To assemble the pie, lightly grease your pie dish with non-stick spray. Roll out one disc of pie dough on a lightly floured surface to a 35cm round. Transfer to pie dish and line bottom. Roll out the second disc to the same size and cut 2cm wide strips. Arrange strips in one direction across top of the pie, spacing apart. Working with one strip at a time, arrange more strips in opposite direction, lifting and weaving to form a lattice. Gently press ends of strips to edge of bottom crust to adhere. Trim overhand.
6. Bake pie for 35-45 minutes or until filling bubbles thickly and lattice is golden brown. Cool on pie rack. Serve warm or room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.