And, speaking of pie, I tried a new one that was delicious for Thanksgiving. Paula Deen said it's best not to try new things for a special occasion dinner, but I don't think anyone minded being a guinea pig for my experiment. Like most pies, it is best with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream! Here it is:
Maple Dream Pear Pie
5 1/2 to 6 cups peeled 1/2" diced just-ripe pears (if they're too ripe, I'm guessing they'll get mushy when you bake it)
1 1/2 TB cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 TB chopped candied ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
9-inch deep-dish pie crust
Oatmeal Crumb Topping:
2/3 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Please the diced pears in a large bowl, sprinkle with cornstarch and stir well. Add remaining filling ingredients and toss gently, until the mixture is evenly combined. Turn the filling into the chilled pie crust and smooth the top of the fruit. Place pie on oven center rack and bake for 45 minutes.
Combine topping dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and using your hands, rub the ingredients together until you have large crumbs. Refrigerate topping until you are ready to use it.
After 45 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove the pie from the oven and spread the crumb topping evenly over the top of the pie. Return the pie to the oven and bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, about 15 minutes. If edges of crust begin to brown too much, cover with a pie shield of strips of aluminum foil. Cool at least 2 hours before serving.
While I was making our Thanksgiving meal, I heard some serious giggling coming from the family room. I knew Matt was upstairs, so I really wondered what Seth could find so funny by himself. He had pulled his winter hat down over his eyes and belly-laughed every time he ran into something. This is the kid who never likes things on his head, but he was genuinely entertained by his own cleverness. When he pulled it over his eyes, I'd say "Hey, who turned the lights out?!" so here's a moment when the "lights" were on: