Recipe: Bacon, Cheddar & Maple Crumble Pear Pie

Anne Levay-Krause

Anne Levay-Krause › Anne Levay-Krause is a food writer, advocate and photographer, Captain for NOFA-NY's 2011 and 2012 Buffalo Locavore Challenges, ...

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Pears are high in vitamins C and K, as well as nutrients such as copper, which together act as antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals. One pear contains up to 11% of our daily recommended vitamin C and 9.5% of our daily recommended intake of copper.

Pears are an excellent source of dietary fiber, lowering levels of bad cholesterol by binding to bile salts and carrying them out of the body. They can also protect the body from some kinds of cancer. In addition to binding to cholesterol, the fiber in pears can also bind to and help remove cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, thus reducing risk of colon cancer. Studies have also shown that eating fiber-rich fruits such as pears can reduce risk of breast cancer by 34% in postmenopausal women.

Although few studies have been done on the subject, most doctors consider pears to be a hypoallergenic fruit, meaning they are less likely than other fruits to produce an allergic response when eaten. For this reason, pears are generally considered safe and are often one of the first fruits given to infants.

Because they are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index, pears make a smart snack for those with diabetes. The bloodstream slowly absorbs a pear’s 26 grams of carbohydrates, which prevents a spike in blood sugar and helps to control blood glucose levels. Lightly sweet, pears can also satisfy the sweet tooth in a healthier way than other sweets.

Typically pear season runs from August to October, but with so many varieties of pear, you’re likely to find some variety in season where you are. Pears ripen from the inside out, so to tell if your pear is ready to eat or not, check the neck by applying gentle pressure. Along with apples, pears are part of the rose family, and like apples, many of the health benefits of pears can be found in the fruit’s skin, meaning for maximum health benefits, eat pears with the skin left on.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I tasted my first pear and brie pastry. It was the strangest thing I had ever seen, the soft and slightly ammonia-scented cheese coated the glazed pears and it was tucked haphazardly in a crust, folded in on itself much like a gallette. I fell in love with the hot pear filling and now use pears whenever I can. This recipe originally called for tossing the maple syrup coated pears with cheddar and baking the filling covered by a regular pie crust. This upgrade to a crumble topping with crisp bacon, cheddar and brown sugar just takes the whole experience of fruit and cheese to another level.

The Crumble

1/2 cup pastry flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons organic maple syrup

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cups well browned and crumbled Spar’s bacon (This is optional!)

The Pie Filling

6 cups chopped bite-sized pears (The skin is nutritious and delicious.)

3 tablespoons organic maple syrup

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons pastry flour

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Blend the pie filling ingredients together and lay out on a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cook the bacon, cool, and then crumble and add to the flour, brown sugar, and cheddar cheese. Cut in the butter and maple syrup using two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Roll out crust and flutter, do not crimp, into a pie pan. Bake till golden.

Add the filling then the crumble. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

References:

Dr. Sinatra

The World’s Healthiest Foods

Living Strong

Care2

What will you be baking for Thanksgiving this year?

Photo Credit: Anne Levay-Krause

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