National Day of Overeating 2014

We had a small household Thanksgiving this year, with a smaller dinner as well. In years past when we had larger gatherings, I'd cook and bake a dozen or more dishes and desserts. This year, skipped the dressing and the green bean casserole, and only made three desserts: a raspberry/peach trifle, a key lime pie (store-bought, tho' I've made them from scratch plenty of times), and a cranberry-pear pie, pictured below:

Cranberry-Pear Pie
The pie was a new offering this year, from a recipe on the Tillamook Cheese company's website. (I made an entry in one of their macaroni-&-cheese contests about five years ago, and they still send me emails.)  I don't think I've ever used pears before; never got any thrill, or disgust, out of them the few times I tried them growing up. (Mostly in fruit cocktail, which is pictured in the dictionary next to the entry on "meh".) When I saw a magazine article positing pears as The Most Mediocre Fruit, I found myself in agreement, and haven't had them in the at-least-several decades since. (I couldn't Google up that old article, but here's a similar list putting pears solidly in the undistinguished middle of the fruit index.)

But I've been eating a lot more fruit lately (a subject for another post), and have been looking to expand beyond my usual bananas/grapes/citrus horizons. The addition of cranberries seemed to hold promise for a more distinctive flavor from the Tillamook recipe, so I picked up some red pears at the local Sprouts (my top choice for produce) and made the pie for Thanksgiving.

Overall judgment?  Pretty damned good.  Most of the flavor came from the pears and cinnamon (there may be foods that aren't improved by cinnamon, but I can't think of any offhand, except maybe broccoli), punctuated by tart bursts from the whole cranberries scattered throughout.

A few quibbles with the recipe: You can tell from the photo above that the pie produced a lot of juice, so if I make this again (I probably will), I'll add an extra spoonful or two of flour to thicken the juice more. Next time, I'll chop the sliced pears into smaller pieces, and might try a rough chop on the cranberries as well, to produce a more blended flavor. The egg wash on the lattice top used a whole egg; I'll probably use an egg white wash instead. And I'll probably add another five minutes to the cook time; the bottom crust was cooked through, but only just; I like my pie crust to be, umm, more cooked.

Oh, and one important tip: Peeled pears are extremely slippery. I peeled the pears over the kitchen trash can to catch the peelings, and every one of the pears went flying out of my hand, and had to be picked out of the trash can and rinsed off, once I reached a point where I was trying to grab actual pear and not pear-skin.

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