Listen, I admire the beautiful, deconstructed fantasy desserts you can get in most “nice” restaurants these days, but I can rarely remember them the next day-they don’t really speak to me on an emotional level. Let’s hear it for a good old-fashioned American pie.


Flaky Pie Dough

  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 8 Bosc pears
  • 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • ½ cup apple butter


Make the Pie Dough

Fill a 1-cup measuring cup with water and add a few ice cubes. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and use a pastry blender or 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour. When the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas, you’re done; do not overmix.

Drizzle ½ cup of the ice water over the butter and flour mixture and use a rubber or silicone spatula to mix the dough, adding more cold water a tablespoon at a time as needed to bring it together. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, use your hands to finish mixing, gathering the damp clumps together into one mound and giving the mass a few quick kneads.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each portion in plastic, using the sides to shape the dough into a disk. Let the dough chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before rolling.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Let the nuts cool for a few minutes, then coarsely chop. Leave the oven on.

Peel and core the pears and cut into ⅛-inch slices. Place the pears and walnuts in a large mixing bowl and add the brown sugar, honey, flour, cinnamon, rum, lemon juice, and salt. Toss gently to combine thoroughly.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out 1 dough disk to a slightly larger diameter than a 9-inch pie pan. Lay the dough in the pan and fill with the pear and walnut mixture. Roll out the remaining dough and place over the filling. Trim the excess dough to a 1-inch overhang and use your fingers to crimp the edges. Brush the crust with the egg wash. Cut a round hole in the center of the pie and make several 1-inch slits in the crust. Place the pie tin on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

Bake the pie for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is a beautiful golden brown. Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.

Whip the crème fraîche until fluffy. Add the apple butter and stir until somewhat incorporated; you should be able to see swirls of the apple butter.

Serve the pie with dollops of crème fraîche.