Pear Crumb Pie
1 9- or 10-inch unbaked pie shell with high fluted edge, chilled
2 1/2 pounds ripe pears (4-5 large ones)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg or other spice of your choice (cookbook calls for 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. mace)
1-2 tablespoons flour, depending on juiciness of pears
1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, cool room temperature
pinch of salt
Peel (if desired--depending on toughness of the skins), core and slice pears, sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine the rest of the filling ingredients and toss with the pears. Spoon filling into pie shell. Combine topping ingredients (fingers work best, I think) and sprinkle evenly over top of pears. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes, until pears are tender and top is browned. I find it works best to put the pie plate on a baking sheet, which concentrates the heat better on the bottom and to use an aluminum pie shield for pretty much the whole baking time. I find trying to use those little strips of aluminum foil as a shield for the crust edges to be too fussy for me to tolerate. Nice served warm, with vanilla ice cream, although most of my guests insisted on eating it with the chocolate malt ice cream I'd bought for the consumption of those who didn't want the pie. I refused to do such a horrible thing, though. Leftovers are good for breakfast the next morning!
--adapted with some very minor changes from A Taste of the Country, published by Reiman Associates, Inc., 1988.
I'll save my tried and true recipe for creamy Italian salad dressing for another post, since we didn't end up eating the salad I'd planned. My mother-in-law brought a salad, so we ate that. Now I have greens and dressing for the week for us.
Peppery Cheese Sticks
These breadsticks—tender and chewy-crunchy, flavored with black pepper and a hint of cheese—are simply addictive.
3 1/4 cups Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil (plus extra for brushing over the dough)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup water
Put through quick dough cycle.
Roll the dough, on a lightly oiled work surface, into a 10 x 18-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into strips 1/3" wide, 10" long. (Use a pizza cutter for the fastest results.) Place them on lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheets. Let the strips rise, covered, for about 30 minutes, until they look slightly puffy.
Bake the breadsticks in a preheated 375'F oven for 18 to 22 minutes, until they're golden brown, flipping them over halfway through. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack. Yield: about 48 breadsticks, depending on how thin you cut them. Thinner sticks will bake up crisper, if you space them out on the baking sheet.
This recipe is very adaptable. You can vary the cheese and seasonings to fit the rest of your menu—Parmesan plus perhaps some garlic and Italian seasoning for an Italian dinner, finely-grated Cheddar and some taco seasoning for a Mexican dinner, etc. Adapted from recipe originally printed in an issue of the King Arthur Flour product catalog.