Maple Pear Pies

We may have outdone ourselves this week! To use up the leftovers from wedding fare Butchie and I made some beautiful pear pies, cooked with pure maple syrup and cinnamon! A beautiful fall pie!

Butchie and I had such a fun time this week! Pear pies are one of my favorite things. I actually prefer them to apple pies. Up until last night, I've only made them more traditionally, using a recipe my mother and I tried out years ago for Thanksgiving that's basically identical to your standard apple pie in flavor/seasoning. I loved it and still do. But we decided it was time to mix it up a bit!

Sooooo, what could be better in a fall pie than maple syrup? Um. Nothing! Having recently gotten back from Vermont I have all too much maple love in my heart. Except maple candy. I was not impressed with the maple candy I bought. The texture was so granular. It was like sticking maple spun sugar in my mouth straight. Don't get me wrong, that tastes lovely, but....texture. Ugh. Like sand. No good. [I still wish you'd brought me some. --B.] But I did try maple fudge....that is going to happen on this blog at some point. Mark. My. Words.

Since we wanted to do mini-pies, and didn't feel like bothering with a proper crust, we thought we'd top them with leftover phyllo from the wedding. Aaaaand since the pies are tiny and left lots of phyllo still to use, we thought we'd just mess around with phyllo for like an hour after the pies were in the oven. [It's like play-doh for adult bakers! --B.] We tried out a few ideas we like for some future posts, one of which kind of resembles a birds nest made of phyllo. That's a bad description, but trust me when I say it will be a beautiful post! We also did some cut outs of maple leaves as you can see in the photos, which we sprinkled with vanilla sugar. Frankly, we loved eating those plain like chips. So delicious, though you really have to watch them like a HAWK. [That vanilla sugar caramelizes extraordinary fast, I suspect b/c the dough is so thin. But if you're the kind of person who likes to set your marshmallows on fire, maybe you should leave them in there an extra 30 seconds or so. --B.] Plus, SO CUTE!

We hope you love these as much as we did. Because, wow, we really did. Butch and I have baked so many great things together over the years, but this one really stood out.

Maple Pear Pies

5 pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 T. arrowroot powder, corn starch, or flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 T. unsalted butter, cut into 8 peices

4-6 sheets phyllo dough
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
vanilla sugar (or cinnamon sugar)

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine all the pie filling ingredients except the butter in a large bowl. Divide amongst 8 ramekins, topping each with a piece of butter. Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

To make the crust, roll out phyllo dough brushing melted butter between each layer, and occasionally sprinkling vanilla sugar in between the layers. Continue this process until the phyllo dough is four to six sheet thick. Cut into rounds the same size as your ramekins, and place on top of the bubbling fruit.

Continue to bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until the phyllo has turned golden-brown. Serve warm.