Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Fig and Pear Pie for Fall

It has been pretty smoky here this week since the wildfires began in Napa over the weekend and quickly spread east towards Santa Rosa, with the smoke and ash being blown by strong winds all the way to the coast. Our local volunteer fire department sent two crews and engines the day before the fires started because CalFire was prestaging since there was a high likelihood of fire over the weekend due to very dry conditions and high winds blowing from the interior toward the coast. Yesterday they sent another crew and fire engine since the fire grew and is not at all contained. Fortunately for Santa Rosa and everything to the west, the winds changed late yesterday afternoon and are now blowing from the coast towards the east. There was also some fog which should help firefighters. Since we have had one or more wildfires in Sonoma Co. every year since the major Tubbs fire in 2017, all of this has become old hat. We all have go bags at the ready and alternate power sources (at least flashlights) because our power company often cuts power to avoid causing fires when the conditions are ripe for new fires. Last year we had to evacuate to San Francisco, but so far this year we have stayed at home; a blessing.

So what do you do when it's hot outside and the air is filled with smoke? If you are lucky, you can turn on an air conditioner to filter the air. That means that it's cool enough in the house to bake a pie. Baking takes my mind off of the rest of it. Pretty selfish I guess, but Sweetie was quite happy to get a pie out of it.

We have very generous neighbors and friends. Of course we give them tomatoes and quince and iris starts and strawberries, so it's a two-way exchange. Recently we received delicious ripe home-grown figs and also some pears. The pears took a while to ripen (pears ripen off the tree) but there were a few ripe at the same time we received the figs, so I put both into a pie and we enjoyed it Sunday after dinner and again for breakfast on Monday.

This recipe is a variation of one from Southern Living. Theirs had only figs and the crust was in a pie pan. Ours had figs and pears and I made it in a crostata form without a pan. I shaped it on a large piece of parchment and used a bread paddle to slide the parchment onto a baking stone. Because it was flatter than a regular pie and because the baking stone was pre-heated, it cooked fairly quickly. The only this to watch out for is the filling because it is basically a custard and looks for places to run out onto the parchment. Sealing where the pie dough meets when you pleat the dough helps. Pouring the filling a little at a time into the center hold allows it to spread out to the edges and that helps, too.

Fresh Fig and Pear Pie
a variation of Fig Pie from Southern Living

dough for 1 crust pie - I used one roll from Pillsbury Ready Crust
2 tablespoons dry plain bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
8 ripe fresh figs, rinsed and dried, stem cut off, sliced into four and then across into eight
1-2 ripe pears, peeled and cored, chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup but more is OK)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place one rack about 1/3 of the way up in the oven. If you have one, put a baking stone one the rack to preheat with the oven. If you don't have a baking stone, place a heavy cookie sheet or baking sheet in the oven to preheat.

Roll out the dough into a circle about 12 to 14-inches in diameter. Place on a large sheet of baking parchment. Sprinkle the dry bread crumbs in the center and out about to cover the center eight inches. Set aside.

To make the Filling: In a large bowl combine the eggs, sugar, flour, juice or vinegar, and ginger with a whisk. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Put the parchment paper with the crust dough on it on a baking peel or a cookie sheet without a rim. Place the figs in the middle of the dough circle on top of the dry bread crumbs. Place the pears on top of the figs. Gently spread the fruit out to fill the center eight inches of the dough.

Fold the extra dough up over the fruit, sealing as you go with water, so that the dough is pleated all around the fruit. Gently and slowly, pour the filling mixture into the open center, letting the filling spread out. If needed, gently unseal one of the pleats and pour some of the mixture to the side. Seal up and repeat around the pie, sealing the dough together where it meets.

Slide the parchment paper onto the preheated stone or baking sheet, keeping the pie on the parchment.

Bake, turning once about half way through, until the pastry is browned and the filling is bubbly, about 25 minutes. Check at the half way point. If the pastry is browning too quickly, tent with foil.

Remove baked pie using the baking peel or cooking sheet without a rim and slide onto a cooling rack. Cool until room temperature. Serve as is, or dust lightly with confectioners sugar.

Makes one 8-inch pie.


  1. Glad you're well, and things are burning the opposite direction of you... we lived in Deer Park our second apartment after we got married, so this is just... difficult to see. Our old neighbors and friends have all been evacuated, and of courses, the AQI here is terrible as well.

    I keep thinking, "if we can just make it to the rainy season..."
    Hang in there, friend. Your pie looks delish! We're not baking much at the moment, but hope to soon. Our second smaller apple tree - with who-knows-what kind of apples, that are reminiscent of your Gravenstein - is turning out some tasty smaller fruit, and we have Plans for it.

    Here's to making it through.

  2. That's really sad about Deer Park, but glad that your old neighbors and friends have been evacuated. Hope they return to a standing home. Some homes are OK, some not.
    I like that you have Plans for the apples! If they are anything like Gravs, applesauce is sublime.
    We all have to hang in there waiting for rain. Stay safe and healthy!