Crostata con Pere al Vino Rosso (Wine-Poached Pears in a Cornmeal Crust)

May 5, 2013Posted in:

Crostata con Pere al Vino Rosso
Wine-Poached Pears in a Cornmeal Crust
Serves 8

3 pounds pears
Juice and peel of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
½ tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
6 cups red wine
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
½ cup dried cranberries
1 ½ sticks ( ¾ cup) plus 1 tablespoon sweet butter, at room temperature
2 eggs yolks
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups flour
10 tablespoons finely ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Peel and core the pears, then cut them into large chunks. There should be about 6 cups. Rub them with the lemon juice so they don’t turn brown.
2. Tie the peppercorns, cloves,and allspice berries in a piece of cheesecloth and place them in a large saucepan with the wine, 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the cinnamon, and lemon peel. Bring the wine to a boil and stir it to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the chunks of pear, poaching them until they are tender, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the firmness of the pears.
3. One minute before you remove the pears, add the dried cranberries to the wine. Remove the cranberries and the pears with a slotted spoon. Reduce the syrup by half, another 5 minutes. Remove the cheesecloth with the spices, the cinnamon sticks, and the lemon peel and pour the syrup over the pears. Refrigerate the fruit in the syrup overnight.
4. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the remaining ¼ cup of granulated sugar and ¾ cup of the butter. Beat in the egg yolks and the salt.
5. In a bowl, blend the flour and the cornmeal together and add it, mixing and pressing until a dough is formed. Refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes.
6. Divide the dough in two, one part slightly larger than the other and on a well-floured surface, roll out the larger part to ⅛ inch thick. (The dough breaks easily, but it can be pinched back together with a little effort.) Fit the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out the remaining portion of the dough to ⅛ inch thick. Arrange a layer of the pears in the pie shell, then sprinkle with the cranberries, a tablespoon of the brown sugar, and ½ tablespoon of the remaining butter. Repeat the layers, then add the top crust, pinching together the edges to form a rim. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let the pie cool completely before serving.