Of course, there’s also all manner of other pastries, but I mean…croissants. We had large ones, plain ones, chocolate ones, mini ones, itty bitty teeny baby ones…
SO basically, I decided to take a break from buttery croissants.
And made a buttery pie-cake. Obviously.
A few weeks ago, the Hubster and I were wandering around and came across a new bakery to try. I went with one of my classic faves, a chocolate croissant, but hubs got this little bitty pie that the nice man behind the counter said was ‘abrikozen’. Turns out the inside was filled with a sort of white cake and little bitty bits of apricot.
And so I had to make one.
I wanted something more autumnal, though, so I decided to use pears in place of apricots, and I added a little spice with some ground cinnamon and ground ginger.
I also topped each of the pies with a sweet little acorn or two. These were very simple to make – I just shaped the bottom piece out of a lighter brown fondant and painted it gold with luster dust. Then, I shaped a slightly domed disk for the top, and gave it texture by poking little holes in it with a toothpick. Once the tops were textured, I painted them with copper luster dust, and stuck a chocolate jimmy in the center of each one to be a stem.
Cute, fun, and easy.
Super serious confession here: I don’t like cooked fruit. I’ve said it before, but it’s very important to reiterate that fact here, because…I LOVED these. Loved them. The spicy cake with the sweet-tart pears was such an absolutely perfect combo. Then, you get the crispness of the flaky crust, and it’s basically the best
cake … pie … pie-cake ever.
Spiced Pear Pie-Cakes
Make one 9-inch pie or four 6-inch pies
FORE THE CRUST
2 1/2 cups (318 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (about 25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons shortening, cold
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) butter, cold, cut into small chunks (margarine, for vegan)
6-8 tablespoons (90 to 120 ml) cold water
FOR THE FRUIT FILLING
2 tablespoons (about 28 grams) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (64 grams) brown suger, packed
1 tablespoon apricot jam (or any jam or preserves desired)
4 pears (I used Bosch), peeled, cored, and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
FOR THE CAKE
1 1/2 cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (188 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (134 grams) sugar
2 large eggs
To make the pie crust: In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients for a couple of seconds to combine, then drop the shortening evenly on top in chunks. Process until the mixture looks like wet sand. Evenly distribute the butter on top and pulse until the mixture has pea sized chunks in it. If mixing by hand, in a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients for a couple of seconds to combine, then drop the shortening evenly on top in chunks. Cut the cold shortening in with a fork or dough blender, until it resembles wet sand. Then, cut the butter in until you have pea sized pieces.
If using a processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl (if mixing by hand, continue as directed).
Add about 6 tablespoons cold water and begin mixing with a spatula. Using a spatula, mix the dough by ‘folding’ from bottom to top and pressing down with each fold, adding more water if the dough is too dry.
Once the mixture has just formed a dough, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface. As quickly as possible, finish bringing the dough together by hand, kneading as little as possible.
Divide the dough in half evenly and shape into two disks, roughly 4 inches across. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or over night.
Once, chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees (190 C). Remove one of your disks of pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about a quarter inch thick, about a 12-inch circle (or cut out 4 smaller circles to use in 6-inch pie pans). Line your pie plate(s) with the dough.
Line with a small piece of parchment, and fill the dough with pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes.
To make the fruit filling: While the crust is par-baking, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together. Stir in the jam until combined. Simmer the mixture for about 3 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in the sliced pears, cinnamon, and ginger, and cook on low heat, until the mixture becomes syrupy, about 7 minutes. Pour the mixture into the par-baked pie crust(s).
To make the cake: Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees (180 C).
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Scrape the sides, as needed. Stir in the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of milk, mixing until just combined between each addition and scraping the bowl as needed. Do not overmix.
Pour the cake batter over the fruit filling. Bake for 20 (15 for mini pies), then remove from oven and add a lattice or decorative pie crust on top. Brush the tops with melted apricot jam, if desired. Return to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more (10 to 12 minutes for mini pies), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan, on a wire cooling rack, for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Darla