As the temps get down to the snuggle range (that's NOAA's official term for it) the comfort food cravings start going way up. Warm bowls of soup. Lattes that are a little hot in the hand. And baked goods, baked goods, baked goods.
This Make-Ahead Chai Spiced Pear Pie transitions nicely through the cold months, from the crisp mornings and crunchy leaves and well into warm-crackling-fire season. On the outside it looks like a classic lattice pie, the kind that's begging to cool on a windowsill.
Once you break through the crispy pastry crust, though, you're in for a surprise: tart, ripe pears — not apples — doused in chai-inspired spices. Together, they have a contemporary-classic flavor that seems like it was invented to pair with crisp mornings and the crunch of leaves on the sidewalk.
What you can't tell from looking at it is how not laborious peeling, coring, and slicing those six pears is. OXO makes tools that help cooks deal with all those tedious tasks. Here, it's an apple corer and mandoline that save the day.
The pie is great completely made ahead — up to three months! — and popped in the oven a couple hours before you want to serve it. If you go this route, make sure you're using a pie plate that's safe for freezer-to-oven. We used OXO's glass pie plate, which is made of borosilicate glass, so it can go straight into the oven without needing to thaw. Baking the frozen version took about an extra 45 to 60 minutes in the oven.
Finally, after your pie is made and latticed and ready to bake, don't toss your dough scraps! OXO makes adorable silicone baking cups that will bake the extra into little tarts. Plop a scoop of melty ice cream on top of one of those and it's a warm dessert for one on a cold winter night.
Make-Ahead Chai Spiced Pear Pie
For the pie dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
10 tablespoons ice water, divided
For the pear filling:
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 firm-ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the topping:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
Make the pie dough: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Toss the butter cubes with the flour mixture, then use a Dough Blender or 2 table knives to cut the fat into the flour mixture until they are the size of small peas. It's ok if some larger pieces of butter remain, this will help produce flaky layers in the crust.
Drizzle 8 tablespoons of the ice water over the flour-butter mixture. Use a silicone spatula or your hands to mix the dough together. If the dough is dry, mix in more water 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough is ready when it holds together in your hand when squeezed. Do not overwork the dough.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces and press each into a flattened disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
Make the filling: Whisk the sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the pears and toss to coat in the spiced flour mixture. Drizzle the lemon juice over the pears and toss again; set aside.
Roll out the pie crust: Unwrap 1 of the dough discs and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 14-inch circle. If the dough begins to crack as you roll it out, wait for a minute for the dough to warm up before starting to roll again. Carefully roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim off any pie dough hanging from the edges. Refrigerate the pie plate.
Roll out the remaining disk of dough into a 13-inch circle, then use a pastry wheel or knife to cut it into 1/2-inch wide strips.
Fill the pie: Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Brush the bottom of the crust with the melted butter. Pour the filling into the crust and arrange into an even layer.
Lattice the pie:
Take the 1/2-inch wide strips you cut from the remaining dough.
Take half of these strips and lay them in parallel lines horizontally across the top of the pie, leaving about 1/2-inch of space between each strip. Use the longer strips for the middle of the pie and the shorter strips for the edges.
Fold every other strip in half back onto itself. Lay one of the remaining strips vertically over the pie so that it lays across the unfolded horizontal strips. Snug it up against the folded strips.
Swap the folded and unfolded horizontal strips: unfold the folded horizontal strips so they lay over the vertical strip and fold the strips running under the vertical strip back over top. Lay another vertical strip of pie crust over the pie, spacing it about 1/2-inch from the preceding vertical strip.
Lattice the second half of the pie following the same pattern. Use the longer strips of pie dough in the middle of the pie and save the shorter strips for the edges.
For step-by-step instructions with photos, check out this how-to post.
Top the pie: Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash onto the crust, then sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up the crust slightly, or freeze the whole pie for long-term storage.
Bake the pie: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425ºF. Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350ºF and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles, 75 to 85 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.
- To bake the pie from frozen: Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350ºF, cover the edges with foil, and bake until the top and bottom of the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles, 75 to 85 minutes.
- Make ahead: The pie dough can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. The pie can be completely assembled and frozen for up to 3 months.
- Storage: Store the pie, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Safety note: OXO's borosilicate glass bakeware can handle going directly from the freezer to the oven, but not all glass pie plates can. Check your pie plate's manufacturer guidelines before attempting.
This post was created by the Kitchn Creative Studio and is sponsored by OXO.
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