By Ian Farrell
SAN FRANCISCO, 20 NOVEMBER 2010 My Pear Ginger Crème Brulée
Pie is a little different from the normal pumpkin, pecan and apple pies
you see around at this time of year in the U.S. For this baking recipe, I
like to use Bartlett pears.They hold their shape well and have a very
aromatic flavor. They are delicious eaten out of hand and also are
excellent when cooked. They are called Williams pears in England where
they originated and were brought to North America in 1800 and renamed
Bartlett pears. It is the most commonly grown variety of pear in most
countries outside of Asia. The season is August to December. Bartlett
pears are picked when light green and then ripen within ten days to a
bright yellow color. If the pears are hard they can be poached in water,
sugar and spices such as cinnamon or star anise to soften them. If yellow
and soft they can be peeled and used directly in the pie.
Pear Ginger Crème Brulée Pie
8 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
5 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ginger
2 ripe (or poached) Bartlett pears, diced into half inch
1 fully baked pie crust (recipe below)
candied ginger chopped
1 additional Barlett Pear for garnish, if
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix half of the sugar with the powdered ginger. Add it to the cream in
a pot and bring to a boil.
Mix yolks, eggs and remaining sugar together in a bowl.
Pour on cream mixture, whisking to combine.
Place pears in the bottom of the pie crust and pour in the mix to fill
to the top. Place on a baking tray and bake in oven for 40-50 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Cover with a thin layer of sugar and caramelize with a propane
Serve with a little whipped cream and sprinkle on the chopped candied
ginger. An additional pear may be peeled, halved, poached and cooled for
Ian Farrell: Pear Ginger Crème Brulée
Photo: Ian Farrell
Flaky Pie Crust
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water - very cold
12 ounces all purpose flour
4 ounces cake flour
1/2 pound butter - very cold
Cut the butter into 1 inch cubes and keep in the freezer for about 10
minutes. The water should be kept in the freezer also for 10 minutes.
Place all the flour on the table in a rectangle shape and scatter the
butter cubes on top.
Cover with a little flour so the rolling pin doesnt stick and begin
rolling until the butter flattens out into long thin strips. Using a bench
scraper, scoop up the sides of the dough to return to the original size
rectangle. Repeat the rolling and scraping 3-4 times.
Make a well in the center and pour nearly all of the water into the
well. Using the bench scraper, scoop the sides of the dough into the
center and mix together. Keep scraping and mixing until the dough is a
shaggy mass. Add the remaining water if necessary. Return the dough to its
original rectangle shape.
Roll out the dough to double its size and fold back together again. Do
this two times and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Repeat the rolling and folding two more times until its a nice smooth
dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator on a
baking sheet for 2 hours or over night.
When ready, roll the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch
thick, rolling from the center in all directions. If lining a pie dish the
circle should be 4" larger than the bottom of the dish.
Using a rolling pin, transfer the dough to a 9 by 2 inch fluted pie
dish and gently press it into place. If using a fluted pan, trim the top
of the pie crust flush with the top of the pan. If you are lining a pie
dish that isnt fluted, trim the dough so you have a 1/2 inch overhang.
Fold the overhang under the dough and crimp the edge. Chill for an hour or
two, or over night. (Crusts can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month at
Preheat oven to 400 F. Prick the pie shell with a fork and line the
shells with parchment paper or a coffee filter and fill with beans or
rice. Bake for 35 minutes and then remove paper and beans and continue to
bake until crispy and a nice golden brown color. The crust will not bake
much further once the filling is poured in.
A native of Kilkenny, Ireland, Ian Farrell is Executive Pastry
Chef at Oracle Corporation where he turns out a line of cakes,
pastries and signature truffles for the software giant's campus
cafés, French- style patisserie and executive dining rooms. Chef Farrell also offers classes throughout the year on baking and
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