Happy Pi(e) Day!

Happy belated Pi Day everyone! In honor of this lovely day, I went over to my equally lovely friend Katherine’s house to document her amazing pie process. Katherine taught me my first pie crust, and is that friend of mine who gives me advice on pies and all other things in life.

On the docket for today’s celebration was a pear and Gruyere pie. Savory and sweet? Too good.

Pear and Gruyere Pie

I arrived to a bowl of juicy peeled pears. I dutifully sliced them up into bite-sized pieces.

Wine wrack

{wine wrack of mine eye}

Gruyere pie crust

We pulsed the dough until it started to come together…

Pie dough

…rolled it out…

Carmelized pears

…combined the filling ingredients in a saucepan…

Pear and gruyere pie

and tossed in my beautifully sliced pears. (I have to emphasize my contribution here).


Ground some nutmeg into the saucepan…

Carmelized pears

And simmered for a good long while, letting the caramelization process take hold…

Carmelized pears

…mmm caramelized pear smoke. At this point, we probably should have let the filling cool a bit, but we were just so excited.

Berry pie

Pie fever had us firmly in its grip, so we ended up also making a berry pie. This one though we froze and saved for another time.

Here’s roughly how we did it.


For crust:

2.5 C all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t sugar
3 oz (or more, if you like it cheesey) Gruyere cheese, grated
20 T butter, frozen and cut into pieces
enough ice water to get dough to form, ~6-7 T

Combine dry ingredients in food processor and whisk together. Add the butter and pulse until pieces are incorporated and butter is no larger than pea-sized pieces. Next, while pulsing, trickle little bits of ice water in by the tablespoon. Once you see the dough start to stick to itself and form, stop adding water.

Remove and form into 2 dough balls on a floured surface. Shape into flat, round discs. Freeze about 20 minutes, generally enough time to get to work on the filling portion of the pie.

For filling:

8-10 pears, peeled and cut
1/4 C white sugar
3/4 C brandy
1 1/2 C water
2 t vanilla
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ground clove
1 cinnamon stick
2 t cornstarch, dissolved in water
1 egg, lightly beaten (for crust wash)

These measurements are generalized, and I can’t really say these reflect what Katherine and her pie-whisperer senses told her to do. But, if I were to recreate on my own, I would probably follow these general guidelines.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine wet ingredients and spices in a saucepan. Bring to simmer. Add the pears and stir to coat in the liquid. Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer to start caramelization. Little bubbles should come to the surface once in a while, as if the filling were communicating some secret to you. Crazy talking pears. When the mixture looks near ready (i.e. the pears are super soft, the liquid is a rich, dark glaze, and things are a little goopey-looking), stir in the cornstarch to thicken. Let cool.

Remove pie crusts from the freezer and roll out until they span the diameter of your pie tin. With the bottom pie crust in the tin, use a slotted spoon to place pear pieces in the pie. After all of the pear is in the pie, add a bit of the liquid to the pie so that it is in its element. Place the other rolled out dough disc on top of the pears. Brush the egg glaze on top and place in the oven for about an hour.

Pear and gruyere pie

And voila! Pear and Gruyere pie to be enjoyed at a Sunday pie party. Thanks to Katherine for sharing her recipe and her kitchen. I hope the pie was a hit! I am thinking you don’t need Pi Day for an excuse to make this pie. Will certainly be trying it again in the future. Yum!


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