Roasted Pear Pie with Bourbon-Vanilla Ice Cream
This beautiful dessert showcases fall’s fresh pears to best advantage. Serve with scoops of bourbon-vanilla ice cream for a grown-up finish to the meal. Much of the work can be done in advance, including making the ice cream and the dough.
For the ice cream:
- 1 3/4 cups (14 fl. oz./430 ml) milk
- 1 1/3 cups (11 fl. oz./345 ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
- 10 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup (6 oz./185) sugar
- 2 fl. oz. (60 ml) bourbon
- Maldon sea salt
For the dough:
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) (3 oz./90 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp. baking powder
- 1/3 cup (2 3/4 oz./80 g) crème fraîche
- 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3 pears, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) jam or preserves, such as raspberry or apricot
To make the ice cream, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, cream, kosher salt and vanilla bean seeds and bring just to a simmer. Remove from the heat. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. While whisking, slowly pour half of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture and continue to whisk until completely combined. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is thickened enough to coat the spatula, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the custard into a clean heatproof bowl. Stir in the bourbon. Nestle the bowl in a larger one filled halfway with ice and water and cool the custard to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.
Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a chilled container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour. (Because of the alcohol in the ice cream, it will remain somewhat softer than other ice creams.)
To make the dough, in a sealable plastic bag, combine the butter, flour, salt and baking powder and toss to coat the butter cubes; make sure they are surrounded on all sides by the flour mixture so they don’t stick together. Freeze until the butter is completely hard, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, refrigerate the crème fraîche and lemon juice.
Transfer the butter-flour mixture to a food processor and pulse until the butter forms pea-size pieces. Add the crème fraîche and lemon juice and pulse until the butter pieces are smaller and more uniform but are still visible. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gather it loosely together. Using the heel of your hand, quickly knead the dough until the butter looks marbled. Knead lightly into a circular shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Spray a 9-inch (23-cm) pie or tart pan with nonstick cooking spray. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into an 11-inch (28-cm) round. Lightly press the dough into the prepared pan. Using a fork, prick holes in the bottom of the dough. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a large bowl, toss together the pears, sugar, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Spread a thin layer of jam onto the bottom of the frozen pie shell. Arrange the pears on the jam in a pinwheel design. Bake, rotating the pie every 10 minutes, until the crust is crispy, the pears are soft and cooked through and the jam is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve with the ice cream, sprinkling sea salt lightly on top as desired. Serves 8.
Charlie Parker, Chef, Haven, Oakland, CA