Apple pie, the ultimate American dessert.
Here in the States we proudly serve it at Christmas and Easter and the 4th of July, no matter what fruit is actually in season.
But I’d be remiss not to say that I do think it tastes best when the air is crisp, and warm spices are a welcome addition.
I love when the time finally comes to pull out my gray and yellow cardigan and a tall pair of boots. To crunch in the leaves and, most of all, go apple picking.
When my bags are full of Honeycrisps and Pink Ladies, Granny Smiths and Macintoshes, I head home and dream of all of the treats I can make: cooked down into sauce, sliced up in a cake, juiced or in a salad, filled and baked.
But I wouldn’t be a true patriotic American if I didn’t dream first and foremost of a nice big pie.
This Cardamom Apple Pear Pie is a riff on the classic, switching out the traditional cinnamon and nutmeg for cardamom and ginger. Pears lend a nice extra touch of sweetness, perfectly complementing the other flavors.
This Apple Pear Pie is a new, creative take on the American classic that’s sure to please any crowd. It’s the best way to use up a bounty of autumnal produce, but why limit yourself to tasty pie-making in the fall? Plus, you’ll love the warm, spicy flavor of cardamom and ginger in place of the more traditional nutmeg and cinnamon. This truly is a year round treat.
- 1 batch pate brisee (or uncooked crust)
- 4 apples ((a sweet, firm cooking variety or a mix of sweet and tart is recommended))
- 3 pears ((firm varieties are recommended))
- 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
- 1 tablespoon Arrowroot powder
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 ounces butter (cut into cubes)
- 1 egg*
- 1 tablespoon water
- Peel, core, and slice the apples and pears into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a medium-sized bowl and cover with lemon juice.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cardamom, ginger, arrowroot, and cornstarch.
- Add the sugar and starch mixture to the fruit and toss to coat. Add half of the butter, and stir again to distribute.
- Spoon the pie filling into an unbaked shell. Scatter the remaining butter on top of the filling.
- Cover with a top crust and let rest in the fridge for half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet. Whisk together the egg and a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush it onto your top crust.
- Bake for one hour, or until the filling is tender and crust is golden.
Keywords: apple pie, pear, cardamom, ginger, Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday, dessert, fall, autumn
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – Peel, Core, and Slice
Start by peeling and coring your fruit. When I was younger, we had a handy tabletop tool that peeled, cored, and sliced it all in one quick step. While I long for that simplicity nowadays, my small kitchen is limited in how many gadgets it can hold.
Instead, I typically peel the fruit by hand and slice around the cores.
I like to chop my fruit into small cubes, but some pie lovers prefer their apples to be sliced into half moons.
For this method, peel your fruit, cut it in half vertically, and use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds, followed by a paring knife to slice out the rest of the core. Set the fruit core side down, and slice into 1/4-inch strips.
Transfer your chopped fruit into a medium-sized bowl and cover with lemon juice.
Step Two – Mix
In a separate bowl, mix together your sugar, spices, and starches.
The sugar will help to distribute the spices and starches to ensure that they are spread evenly throughout the filling. You don’t want to bite into a clump of dry cornstarch or spicy ginger – or for any of your guests to!
Step Three – Combine
Combine the fruit with the sugar mixture and half of the butter.
You want the sugar to coat the fruit so that you don’t end up with chunks of stuck-together apples that aren’t combined uniformly with the rest of the gooey, flavorful filling.
Step Four – Fill
Pour your filling into an unbaked crust and dot the top with the remaining butter.
I recommend you follow my crust guide for the perfect pate brisee shell, but any recipe or premade dough will do.
Step Five – Cover
This is my favorite step of pie making, since there is so much room for creativity!
You can use your top crust to build the classic lattice, or a simple vented layer. You can also make a design with fun shapes, use a pie bird, or punch out a creative vent of your own.
No matter what you choose, your pie will be both beautiful and delicious.
Preheat your oven to 375°F while you set the pie to rest in the fridge. You want it to rest for at least half an hour, to allow the gluten in the crust to settle down and the butter to firm up.
Step Six – Bake
When you are ready to bake, place your pie on a baking tray. The filling will bubble while it bakes, and it is helpful to have a tray to catch any potential spills.
It’s much easier to scrub off a sticky tray than to clean the bottom of your oven!
Whisk together one egg and a tablespoon of water, and brush this egg wash over the top crust.
Bake for one hour. If the crust looks like it is getting a bit too dark, you can cover it with aluminum foil for the remainder of the bake time, or create a collar with foil just around the edge of the pie.
Let the pie rest for at least one hour before you slice into it, on a wire cooling rack.
As difficult as this might seem, allowing it time to settle and set will create a firm filling with and a pie that cuts smoothly, without oozing.
Top each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, or a big scoopful of homemade cinnamon honey ice cream.
Give It a Try!
I’m off to go pick some apples now, and I suggest you head out to acquire some too – whether at a nearby orchard or simply your local market! It is well worth your time to give this recipe a try.
Though if you’re after a different kind of holiday-themed pie, check out our holiday pies round up for both Thanksgiving and Christmas! Or, to keep things simple, take a look at some of your favorites including:
Love apples and want to try something a little different in the realm of apple baked goods? Give our caramel apple scones recipe a try.
Tell us in the comments below about your favorite way is to serve apple pie, and share some of your favorite ways to tinker with the flavor profile and ingredients that you incorporate.
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Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published October 1st, 2016 and updated November 8th, 2018.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.