Apple and pear recipes to tempt your tastebuds

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For this week, I wanted recipes that use up my surplus produce. Our Wildflight box contains one big bag every two weeks of wonderful fruit, but still, with just two of us, I have some trouble using the pears and apples before they go soft. So here are Pear compote and Company Apple Pie

Pear Compote with cranberries. Leslie Savage photo

Pear compote
Keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks, in large glass canning jars, for which plastic screw-on caps are now available. A nice simple dessert, extra special with whipped cream.

8 medium-ripe pears
2 apples
3 oranges
2 limes, or enough for ¼ cup of lime juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
1 small knob of fresh ginger, peeled
1 cup dried cranberries
Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half lengthwise and take out the core with a melon baller. Remove the strings of pith with a sharp knife.
Peel the apples and core and quarter them.
Squeeze the oranges. If you can, buy blood oranges, which give a rosy hue to the syrup. You should have ¾ cup of orange juice.
Put into a large saucepan the wine, water, sugar, vanilla, orange juice, lime juice, cinnamon, ginger and cranberries. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
Add the pear halves and apples. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1-12 minutes, until pears are soft—the tip of a sharp knife will go into the pear easily.
Remove the pears, and some of the cranberries from the saucepan with a slotted spoon, and reserve in a bowl. Discard the cinnamon and ginger.
Continue heating the juices and the apples until the apples dissolve into the sauce. Remove from heat and strain the apples and juice through a sieve. Pour over the pears and serve with whipped cream.

Company Apple Pie makes a big, deep and delicious tart. Leslie Savage photo

Company Apple Pie
This makes a big, delicious apple pie with a flaky crust. A hint of citrus sharpens the flavour, so it works to use everyday apples rather than the tart cooking variety so seldom available. I took this to my book club the day we did Crowe Lake, and some people liked it so much they had seconds.
The bottom crust is pre-baked to make it less likely to absorb the juice from the apples.

Orange Zest Crust

I make this in a food processor, but you can cut the shortening and butter into the flour with two knives or a pastry cutter. This crust is sturdy but flaky. Flours differ, so if the dough is too sticky, use lots of flour in the roll-out.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, chilled and cut into squares
1/3 cup shortening, chilled
1 egg
plain yogurt, preferably 5% BF Olympic natural
2 tsp orange zest (zest of one orange.)
Cut the shortening and butter into the flour and salt mixture until it looks like large natural oatmeal.
Put the egg into a measuring cup and beat it up. Add enough yogurt to make ½ cup of liquid. Add the orange zest. Beat well. Add the egg-yogurt to the flour and stir until dough clings together. Wrap this in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 400F.
Divide the dough in two and roll out for bottom crust first. Place in large pie plate. Prick all over with a fork, and weight with dry beans, macaroni or glass pie weights. You can put tin foil down on the pastry before the weights, but it’s not mandatory. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool, the remove weights. (I keep a jar of macaroni just for this purpose, and reuse it.)
Roll out the pie crust top.

Apple Filling
8 cups peeled, cored and quartered apples
1 egg with a little water
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest
Brush the semi-baked pie crust bottom with a very thin wash of the egg and water to seal the crust.
Mix together in a large bowl the apples, lemon and orange juices, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest. Pour into the crust.
Top with the second rolled out crust. Seal the joint with egg wash, and fold the top crust so that the two meet and make an edge. Cut off excess crust and pinch two crusts together.
Reduce oven heat to 350F.
Bake on lower shelf in oven for 10 minutes, then move to middle shelf and bake for 30 minutes or more, until crust just begins to brown. Remove and cool.
You might eat this apple pie with a large slice of Cheddar cheese, as my father did — his parents hailing originally from Lancashire and London, where apple pie was never served without cheese. Americans would eat it with vanilla ice cream or Sonia’s gelato — from La Baguette. Canadians? You tell me.

Pear Normande — could any dessert be prettier? Leslie Savage photo