When it’s pouring raining, grim and blustery, cold and dark, and frankly dreadful outside, my idea of the perfect day is one where I’m home, warm and happy. The windows are all steamed up, I put on some good music, and I start baking. And cooking. In fact, I’m happiest if I have about 4 different things going at once.
For example, today I have a sourdough sponge—made from my sourdough starter—bubbling away in a warm little spot in the kitchen, just waiting for it’s debut as a big chewy loaf of sourdough bread. On the stove, a gorgeous autumnal pumpkin curry simmering away. Recipe is courtesy of one of my all-time favourites, Nigel Slater. One burner over sits a huge pot of chicken and yams for my dog’s dinner (and breakfast, and dinner, and etc etc).
But, I’m thinking, what about dessert? I adore making dessert on the weekend. Especially if it means firing up the oven and baking something. Plus it helps warm up the house and keep it all cozy inside. And nothing beats the smell of pastry or cakes or cookies, or really any kind of dough, baking away in the oven.
So in keeping with the autumn theme, and because I have a bag of pears, I’m going for little pear pot pies. It just sounds nice. Seriously, say it out loud. Pear. Pot. Pies. What could be better on a night like this?
Warm Pear Pot Pies
4 medium pears (I used Comice)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
A big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
About 2 teaspoons flour
For the pastry dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
7 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
About 1/4 cup very cold water
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
1. To make the dough, in the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar. Sprinkle the butter over the top and process for a few seconds, or just until the butter is slightly broken up into the flour but still in visible pieces. Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture evenly, then process until the mixture just starts to come together. Dump the mixture out of the bowl onto 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Press the dough together into a mound and then wrap with plastic and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate the dough to chill for 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Place eight 2/3-cup custard cups or five 1-cup ramekins onto a rimmed baking sheet. Peel the pears, remove the core and seeds, and cut into bite-sized chunks. In a mixing bowl, stir together the pears, brown sugar, lemon juice, and flour. Divide the pear mixture equally between the cups or ramekins.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough disk on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a round about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out enough rounds of dough as you have custard cups or ramekins. Make sure to cut them so they are slightly larger than the top of the cup or ramekin. Place the dough round on top and press the edges down to secure. Cut a few vents in top.
4. Bake until the crust is golden and the pear juices are bubbling. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, then serve with a scoop of ice cream on top.