A couple of weeks ago I made Dorie Greenspan’s Apple Pie from her Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook. When I served it up to my boyfriend he immediately dubbed it the best apple pie ever – not just once, but several times whilst he devoured it, including giving me a thumbs up mid bite. I agreed, the apple pie was delicious with the right amount of flaky buttery crispness to the crust and the right amount of apple that wasn’t too sweet.
While I loved the compliments that the apple pie garnered – what cook doesn’t like compliments on a dish they’ve made, even if the recipe isn’t theirs?- I immediately thought about what I could do with the recipe to make it my own. As much as I love making other peoples recipes, I enjoy the challenge of tweaking and experimenting and really making a recipe my own much more. After a bit of thought and an abundance of pears from my farmers deliveries I came up with mini chocolate pear pies.
Flaky chocolatey pastry encasing sweet, almost caramel pears, does it get any better? Well, not as far as I am concerned.
Do you enjoy tweaking recipes to make them your own?
Chocolate Pear Pies
Makes 6 mini pies
Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Good For Almost Anything Pie Dough from Baking: From My Home to Yours
- 1 1/4 cups of plain (all purpose) flour
- 2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 142g (1 1/4 sticks) of cold butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
- About 1/4 cup of iced water
- In a food processor fitted with a large bowl and metal blade add the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt and pulse to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse only until the butter is about the size of peas.
- Gradually add half the ice water and pulse after each addition to combine. Once you’ve added the water, if the dough doesn’t look moist enough to form a dough use a few long pulses to better combine the water. If the dough still doesn’t look like it would come together gradually add more of the water.
- Line the kitchen bench with cling film and pour out the dough onto the cling film and divide in half and flatten into a disc. Wrap each half in cling film and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- When the dough has been chilled roll out the dough. You can do this on a floured kitchen bench or between 2 sheets of floured baking paper (my preferred method). If using the baking paper method I find it helpful to slightly dampen the kitchen bench before placing the baking paper on top as this helps prevent the baking paper from moving. Roll out the dough until it is about 3mm (1/8 inch) thick.
- Trim the dough to fit your pie dishes, making sure you have allowed excess, and once trimmed to fit place back in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
Pear filling & Glaze
- 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of pears, peeled or unpeeled (depending on your preference), cut into cubes
- 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of ground almonds
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 tablespoon of milk or thickened cream
- sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) and grease your mini pie dishes.
- Mix the pears, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, flour and vanilla extract together in a bowl.
- Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and line the pie dishes with the pastry and add the filling. You will need to pile the filling up as the pears will cook down while baking. Then add the pastry top.
- Cut two slits into the top of the pie crust to act as a steam vent and then brush with the milk or thickened cream and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake the pies for 10 minutes before lowering the temperature to 180 Celsius (355 farenheit) for 20 minutes. Note, if you find the pie tops browning too quickly cover loosely with a foil tent.
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