So, much like my kind-of-sort-of-not-really-Bircher Potatoes, here’s another dish from the annals of my childhood which I’ve forever known as “Normandy Pear Pie”. As is often the case for dishes that aren’t that well known, I usually have a quick peek at Google before writing out the post just to make sure I’m getting the name right, if it actually exists, or even just to see if I can find any information about this dish I know so well but others can only give me blank stares when I mention it.
In this case I was pleased (and a little surprised) to see a great many results for “Normandy Pear Pie” (or tart) when I searched, and then equally dismayed when I discovered that pretty much every recipe I could find had absolutely no similarity to “my” pie at all… some of them even having a frangipane filling! Well, I must say that those do sound delicious but please allow me to present this version to you (which apparently isn’t actually a Normandy Pear Pie at all), and anyway – the title is so much more whimsical than “Pear and Walnut Pie”.
The pie is actually one of the best pies I know. Apple is all well and good but it can get a bit boring sometimes. Pears make for an excellent alternative and the flavours that arise as the walnuts heat and mix with the sugar and pear juice is pure magic. Topped off with a sprinkling of cinnamon and you’ve got something that would be a great rival for the ol’ apple pie any day of the week.
The big freeze has started and I’m now limited to a fairly narrow window of good light each day for taking food photos. If mother nature decides it’s going to be snowy or overcast on that day then that’s it… no chance for photos, so I think I’m going to have to try and find some sort of “daylight” lighting kit. Apologies if there are some yellow-tinged photos for a while until I can figure something out!
On the plus side though – tomorrow is my birthday and we’ve just passed the first Sunday of advent, and so here is a poinsettia covered in glitter to get you in the festive spirit! See you soon folks.
Normandy Pear Pie
For the pastry400g Plain Flour + a little extra for dusting
- 200 g Cold Butter cut up into small chunks
- 100 g Sugar
- 4 tbsps Cold Water
For the filling~10 large, ripe Pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
- A handful of walnuts finely chopped
- 4 tbsps Sugar
- 3 tsps ground Cinnamon
You'll also need3tbsps Milk for brushing
- Start off by placing the flour, sugar, and butter into a large bowl. Rub the mixture between your fingertips until you have a texture resembling breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can do this in a food processor.
- Add the water to the bowl and mix well to form a dough. Add a little extra water if necessary.
- Place the pastry into a plastic bag and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and break off about 3/5 of the pastry. Grease a pie dish with a diameter of about 30cm and then roll the pastry out on a floured surface until about 5cm larger all around than the dish.
- Transfer the pastry to the pie dish and press down to the bottom, sides and corners. Trim off the excess pastry from the edges, add in some baking beans and bake blind in the oven for about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and then add in the sliced pears, distributing them evenly over the base. Sprinkle the pears with the cinnamon and chopped walnuts, before finally sprinkling on the sugar.
- Remove the remaining pastry and roll out on a floured surface until it's big enough to cover the pie. Drape over the pie and seal the edges with a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top of the pie with the milk. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until turning golden brown.
A pear and walnut pie, regardless of the name, is out of my sphere of familiarity but it does sound like a tasty alternative to the usual apple pie. I think the pear and frangipane version sounds tasty as well, maybe in a tart.
Your poinsettias look lovely with their ‘snowy’ glitter.
Thanks A_ – the frangipane version does indeed sound good, doesn’t it? I think I might have to try that too sometime soon!
I bought some pears last week and, once I got heat in the house again, I geared up to make a pear and frangipane tart. Thank you for the idea. 🙂
Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com says
Pears are just so juicy and sweet – I could imagine how good this pie was! I am so used to apple or blueberry, I dont think I have ever had pear!
I never had blueberry pie… they’re so damn expensive, but at least they grow natively in Sweden so hopefully I’ll be able to try one in the summer!
Coffee and Crumpets says
A very happy birthday my dear Charles!! I hope you have a fabulous day.
So, I haven’t heard of your Normandy pie and don’t remember eating it growing up either, but hey, it’s never too late for pie! I do love pears and with walnuts, that’s a great combo!
Have a great day tomorrow!
Thanks Nazneen! I had a very nice day 🙂
Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com says
Oh andhappy Birthday!
Hehe, cheers 🙂
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
I’ve eaten plenty of apple and blueberry pies but only one pear tart in my life. I love the idea of the pears and walnuts. I’m making this for Christmas.
Happy Birthday, my friend!
Thanks Maureen – pears are lovely in pies and tarts – they develop such a fantastic flavour when cooked!
Sharyn Dimmick says
A new pie with winter ingredients! I shall certainly try this, Charles. What variety of pear did you use?
Hi Sharyn – I was lucky to get some lovely ripe conference pears. I think it would work equally well with williams pears too though… perhaps even better!
Happy birthday Charles!!! I hope you have a wonderful day and a great year ahead! I love the look and sound of your pear pie – Normandy or not. I know I would absolutely love this and your description of the walnuts in the pie has my mouth watering. I hope all is well in the deep freeze. 🙂
Thank you very much Kristy! I had a very good day, and even when the birthday is over, you know what’s great? Leftover birthday cake!!! 😀
Hotly Spiced says
That’s a beautiful looking pie, Charles and I love how it’s made with pears rather than apples. I do feel very sorry for you with so few daylight hours to shoot! What a challenge. I think you’re doing very well given the circumstances. I love your Christmasy props and Happy Birthday! – Another year young! xx
Thanks Charlie – it’s pretty much dark at 3pm these days, with daylight falling by around 1.30… yikes!
Happy Birthday, Charles! The tarts sounds and looks excellent. I have never seen anything similar, but pears and walnuts certainly are a great combination. Your “Normandy pie” reminds me of the Polish “Brettany beans” which probably have nothing to do with Breattny 🙂 The taste is the most important!
Hi Sissi, I spoke to my mother and she tells me ideally the walnuts should be incorporated into the pastry, though I think it doesn’t ultimately make that much difference!
Happy Birthday! I hope you had a wonderful day!
The pie look fantastic! And your new easy to print format is so helpful, how did you do it? I wish I have someone to help me re-do my blog.
Thanks Nipponnin – were you able to view the “print” format? I use a plugin called “Recipe Card” to display the recipes, but since I updated it the print button just seems to show a blank page these days… need to investigate it further when I have time!
A belated happy birthday Charles!!!
Pie looks a stunner. I am such a stickler for apple pie, but you’ve sold me on the pear pie. Love that addition of walnut, adds just that extra nutty depth and flavour to the pear filling. Your pastry’s also a little different from mine so I’m now super keen to try this out to compare!
Thanks Shu – how do you make your pastry? I’d be interested to know. I tend to use the same pastry recipe and never change it much but I’m not 100% happy with it. It works ok, but I think it could be improved, so if you have one, do send me a link!
I just use a standard 3:2:1 ratio, mainly because it’s so easy to remember! But there is no sugar involved so it’s not a sweet pastry.. I use it for sweet pies too anyway though, because I like the contrast of a salty savoury crust with a sweet filling.
Cheers, will take a look! 🙂
Eva Taylor says
Charles, your pie looks incredible. The pastry looks very flaky and perfect. I adore pears and I could see that this would be a real winner in my house. My friend T from Illinois gave me a bunch of black walnuts from her tree in the back yard, I’m wondering if it would be good in this pie? I’ve never used black walnuts before.
Ooh, black walnuts… I never heard of such a thing! Would love to try them! We went to the abbey of Port Royal des Champs again (wrote about it here previously) back when we were still in France and saw this huge tree covered in hard green fruits. I pulled some off and was astonished to find that there were walnuts in the centre of each fruit. I had no idea they grew that way!
You just made me realize that I have never had a pear pie before. Lots of apple pies of course. What a great little pie! Thanks for introducing me to this because I really want to give it a try. This would be a great pie for the holidays! Thanks! Oh I hadn’t thought of the short days you’re having. Well, you’ve done quite well without the light. You’re pictures are beautiful and you definitely make me want to eat that pie!!
Thank you MJ – you wouldn’t say the same about the photos I have coming up soon… they look quite dreadful, but I made them and I want to post them so… I will :D. It will take some getting used to, that’s for sure. I think I definitely need to buy some daylight-lamps!
Pie is the perfect sweet comfort when the temperature starts to fall. I love how much sugar you have added to the top, there is nothing nicier than a sugary, crisp shortcrust pastry.
Baked crispy sugar is the best! 😀
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
A belated Happy Birthday, Charles. I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating. There is only one thing that I can see wrong with your pear pie recipe and that is the 12 servings. I think everyone would want a large slice for your delicious sounding pie. 🙂
Haha, well, if you’re feeling particularly hungry you could reduce it to 6 😀
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
What, I missed your birthday!!! So sorry, it’s already 12/6 here. Happy Belated Birthday Charles! I hope you had a great birthday in your new home. 🙂
I love pears in baked goods. It’s very special and I know what you mean by apples can be a bit boring… the taste is sort of expected. But since I don’t eat baked goods with pears as much it’s always a treat! Looks do good!
Thanks Nami! Love pears too… they have such a lovely flavour and consistency when they’re baked or heated in some way!
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Charles, though I’ve always enjoyed eating fresh pears, I haven’t done much in the way of cooking with them. This pear and walnut pie, by any name, looks and sounds like just the thing!
Thanks Jean. Fresh pears can be so good can’t they. Especially a nice, big, fat, juicy williams pear, with the juice all running down your chin :D.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
What a delicious sounding pie, I love the pear and walnut filling. Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Charles!
Thanks Laura, I did indeed 🙂
Anneli Faiers says
Pear and walnuts…that sounds really good 🙂 I prefer pear to apple so this pie sounds yummy to me. Can I have custard? x
How about custard, cream, and ice-cream on top? My family has been know to do that :D.
Happy belated birthday, Charles! I hope it was as wonderful as the pie looks. I think pears are going to be my go to fruit this winter. I keep seeing so many recipe using them, and like you said, apples get a bit boring after a while. This looks like a perfect place to start. I’d love to have a slice of that right now on this dreary rainy day.
Thanks Betsy – sorry I didn’t reply earlier! I hope you have a good Christmas 🙂
fati's recipes says
It’s always lovely to have “your” recipe. I’m so that kind of person with my hometown/childhood food. This pie looks adorable and super sweet. 🙂
P.S. miss fati is still in shock you’ve moved suggests updating your “about me” section 🙂
Thanks Fati, and good call on the “About” page. I updated the little bio on the side of the page, but updating the about page is a good idea! 🙂