Pie is something I take very seriously, both the making and eating of it. My mom and grandmothers set the bar high (learning how to make a good pie is practically a rite of passage in Midwest farm country), and my husband grew up in a family of pie lovers. On both sides of our family, the Thanksgiving dessert table typically consists of several pumpkin pies, pecan, and sometimes apple -- and in the case of my husband’s Nebraskan family, sour cream and raisin. As much I love all of those options, I often find them too rich and sweet after a big meal. This contest gave me the perfect excuse to create my ideal Thanksgiving pie, and this gingered cranberry-pear one is the result.
I started with an all-butter pie dough that’s rolled in gingersnap cookie crumbs, an idea I picked up from Martha Stewart’s buttermilk pie where the dough is rolled in graham cracker crumbs. It’s the perfect solution when you can’t decide between a pastry and gingersnap crust, and the crumbs make the dough a breeze to roll out. From there, I layered the crust with thinly sliced pears, then cranberries simmered with ginger, orange, and rosemary (a flavor combination inspired by a cranberry-rosemary soda I made last fall). It’s festive, boldly flavored, and beautiful in presentation, with its sweet-tartness a refreshing change of pace after a big turkey dinner. I may never be able to take pumpkin pie off the Thanksgiving menu, but this pie will definitely make a most welcome addition to the dessert table. —EmilyC
EmilyC takes pie seriously, and she has done an artful job with this Gingered Cranberry-Pear Pie. Even if I had not liked the pie (I did), I learned some techniques while making it. Emily rolls her pie dough on gingersnap crumbs, giving you the flaky non-sweetness of the pie dough along with the crunchy, gingery snap of the crumbs. Plus, the dough does not stick when rolled out. She adds flavor and thickens the juices by infusing cranberry juice with orange peel, rosemary, and ginger and boiling it down. Another sweet-savory triumph. The finished pie is light and tart, just right after a heavy dinner. —luvcookbooks