our little family had a proper mini-vacation.
living a military life means you get to move a lot of places and see some lovely sites on the way, but it is hard to take real vacations in the middle of the transitions.
i’m so glad we did.
a quick little trek down I-81 found us in Lexington… home of the virginia military institute, washington and lee university, the natural bridge state park, stonewall jackson’s home, some of virginia’s caverns, and so much more.
the weather was warm and lovely, and we had the best time exploring the history of that sweet town.
a quick off-shoot trip was to the virginia gold asian pear orchard. this 28-year old orchard, just out of lexington town, was on a rolling hill with the gorgeous main house just down the way. unfortunately picking season was over, but there was plenty of chilled pears to buy. the owner was a dear korean woman who chatted with my kids, while she stroked their cheeks and fed them pear slices.
asian pears are more round in shape and more apple-like in texture than the bartlett or bosc varieties. our favorite asian pear was one the sweet owner developed herself in her orchard.. the “sunburst” pear. it was sweet and juicy, with the perfect crunch. they were the best to have in the hotel room as a quick and easy nutritious snack for the kids.
i hoarded a few, though, with this pie in mind… of course.
this grain-free chinese five spice pear pie is a great twist on classic pies for the upcoming holidays. the lovely pear skins are the perfect fall hue and make me think of leaf piles, so obviously it needed a pile of pie crust leaves alongside.
if you have never used chinese five spice, it is a blend of spices… usually cinnamon, fennel, star anise, clove, and maybe a touch of pepper. chinese five spice lends itself so nicely for both sweets and savories, and i thought it was perfect to pair with these pears.
whether it is whipping up a homemade pie or escaping with your family for a quick getaway, i hope you have time for some memory-making this week.
Grain-Free Chinese Five Spice Pear Pie
Yield 1 pie
2 cups almond flour
1 1/4 cups arrowroot starch
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup spectrum shortening
1/3 cup water
3 Asian pears, cored
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Combine 2 cups almond flour, 1 1/4 cups arrowroot, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup spectrum shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in 1/3 cup water and stir to make a dough.
Sprinkle a large piece of parchment paper with additional arrowroot starch. Roll dough out to about a large circle, enough to fit 9-inch pie plate up the sides. Chill for 10 minutes.
Carefully transfer dough to pie plate coated with cooking spray. Press together any breaks or cracks in dough. Using a knife, cut off excess dough that hangs over top of pie plate and roll out on parchment. Cut out several leaves with small leaf cutter. Chill pie plate and leaves.
Thinly slice Asian pear halves. Combine sugar, arrowroot starch, and Chinese Five Spice in a medium bowl and sprinkle mixture evenly into the bottom of the chilled pie crust. Place pear halves, cut side down, into pie plate on top of sugar mixture.
Brush sides of pie crust with beaten egg and place leaves of dough all around edges and into pie on top of pears as desired. Brush tops of leaves of dough with egg and sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired.
Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden and pears are bubbly and juicy. (Cover top of pie with aluminum foil if crust begins to brown too much.) Allow to cool before serving.