Although pies are undoubtedly a year-round pleasure—blueberry in the summer, strawberry in the spring, peanut butter whenever you feel like it—there's something about welcoming in fall with a freshly baked pie that just feels magical. In this week's episode of Mad Genius, Food & Wine Culinary Director at Large Justin Chapple prepares his recipe for Pear-and-Cranberry Slab Pie, a free-form square, fruit-packed dessert you'll want to make all-season long. Ground ginger adds a warming note, and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top of the crust brings sparkle and crunch. You can enjoy the pie as-is, or better yet, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Either way, you're in for a treat.
Read on to find out how to make it and follow along with the video above.
Make the Pie Dough…
First things first—you'll need to prepare the pie dough, which calls for all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, kosher salt, cubed and chilled unsalted butter, and ice water. Keeping the butter cold is key here, since it will help ensure a flakier crust. Once the dough has just come together in the food processor, form it together on a work surface, cleave it in half, and pat it into two squares. Let them chill, wrapped individually in plastic wrap, for about 45 minutes in the refrigerator.
…and Roll it Out
After the dough has chilled, get one square onto a floured work surface and roll it out into a 12-inch square. Transfer the square onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and cover it with a second piece of parchment paper. Then, roll out the second square of dough and place it on top of the first parchment-covered square. (Alternatively, you can put the dough squares on two separate parchment-lined baking sheets.) Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.
Prepare the Filling
Justin likes to use a mix of pears in the filling—in this case, Bartlett and Anjou, which need to be peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch wedges. The pear wedges go into a large mixing bowl with the frozen cranberries, a bit of flour, ground ginger, sugar, and salt. Toss it together with a spoon and you're ready to assemble the pie.
Build the Pie
Remove the dough from the fridge, and take the top layer of dough and parchment paper off, setting it aside. Spread the filling evenly on the bottom dough square on the baking sheet, making sure to leave a one-inch border bare. Then, gently cover it with the second piece of dough and fold the edges of the two pieces together, crimping to seal. Brush with a combination of beaten egg and water, sprinkle on the turbinado sugar, and cut 16 small slits on the top piece of dough. Justin likes to do four in each corner.
After a final 15-minute trip to the freezer, bake the pie. It'll need about 50 minutes in a 400°F oven, rotated halfway through baking. You'll know it's done when the crust is golden and the pears are tender.
Once the pie has cooled, cut it into squares for serving. You can certainly eat a piece with a knife and fork, or do as Justin does and pick it right up.
"Oh my gosh," he says after trying a bite. "I remember why I created this recipe." He continues, "The inside, the filling, is like a little tart, a little sweet. And it's got, like, that very, very subtle gingery note. This is legit-ness, super legit."