I did a story for the newspaper about a Dutch oven convention a few weeks ago and met a woman named Carol Hokanson. She is a champion, you guys! She brought this pie, which she made in her home oven instead of coals that morning, and it tasted like heaven. I'm excited about the filling, but I'm obsessed with the crust. Carol lifted the pie out of that dutch oven and it looked EXACTLY THE SAME. It didn't crack or sag and it tasted amazing.
6-7 pears, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups dried cranberries, reconstituted
1 cup sugar
½ cup ultra gel
1 tsp almond extract
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 cups flour
1 ¼ cups Crisco shortening
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 T. white vinegar
2/3 cup cold water
1 T. water
In a small bowl mix sugar, ultra gel, nutmeg, ground ginger, salt and cinnamon together until well blended. In a separate, large bowl, blend together pears, cranberries, almonds and almond extract. Combine the two mixtures and gently toss until mixed. Set aside.
In a large bowl, blend flour, salt, and shortening together with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, water, and white vinegar. Add the liquid mixture to the crumbly mixture and gently stir with a fork until it forms a ball. Gather the dough into your hands (DO NOT KNEAD) and divide it into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Refrigerate the small one until you’re ready to roll it out.
Roll the larger dough ball out on a cloth-covered board to about 14-inches in diameter. Spray a 10-inch Dutch Oven with Bakers Joy. Place strips of parchment in the Dutch Oven to make removing the pie easier. Place the rolled-out pastry in the Dutch Oven, making sure the edges come over the sides of the Dutch Oven. Pour the pie filling into the Dutch Oven.
Roll out the smaller ball of dough into an 11-inch circle and cut into ½ - ¾ inch strips for the lattice top, then arrange the lattice top over the pie filling in the Dutch Oven.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water together for the egg wash. Brush the egg wash onto the lattice top of the pie. Garnish with sugar crystals if you desire.
Bake at 425 degrees using 12 coals on the bottom and 15 on the top of Dutch Oven with a windshield around the bottom, for about 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and pulling away from the sides of the Dutch Oven. Cool and then lift the pie out using the parchment strips.