Poached-Pear and Cranberry Pie

poached pear cranberry pie martha bakes
Photo: Mike Krautter
1 9-inch pie

We use pate brisee for the bottom crust of this holiday party-ready Poached-Pear and Cranberry Pie, as well as cookie dough-inspired cutouts embellish the top. Pears and cranberries are simmered with white wine and spices for the sweet, fragrant filling.


Pate Brisee

  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


  • 1 bottle (750 milliliters) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 star-anise pod

  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

  • 4 to 5 firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled, quartered, and cored

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • Fine sanding sugar, for decorating


  1. Pate Brisee: Pulse together flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor to combine. Pulse in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With machine running, add 1/4 cup ice water in a slow, steady stream, just until dough holds together. To test, squeeze a small amount together; if it is crumbly, add up to 1/4 cup more ice water, a little at a time. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

  2. Turn out dough onto a clean surface; divide in half. Place each half on a piece of plastic, flatten into disks, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before using. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

  3. Filling: Combine wine, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla seeds, and cranberries in a wide saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Add pears; if not completely covered in liquid, add water as needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover with a round of parchment, pressing it directly on surface of pears. Simmer until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears and cranberries to a heatproof bowl, then increase heat to high and boil liquid until reduced to 2 cups. Pour liquid over pears; refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes or up to overnight.

  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining disk of dough to a 13-inch round. Transfer to a parchment-lined unrimmed baking sheet. Using a 1-inch petal cutter, cut out a decorative pattern in center, reserving cutouts to decorate edges. Freeze until firm, 15 minutes.

  5. Remove pears and cranberries from liquid and blot dry with paper towels. Arrange pears in prepared pie dish, then add cranberries. Brush overhang with egg wash. Place top crust over filling; press edges to seal with bottom crust. Using kitchen shears, trim dough to a 1/2-inch overhang, reserving scraps. Tuck overhand under so edges are flush with rim. Brush edges with egg wash and decorate with petal cutouts, rerolling scraps to cut out more shapes as needed. Brush entire surface with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

  6. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until crust is evenly browned (if browning too quickly, tent edges with foil), 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Cook's Notes

Reserve poaching liquid to make ice cream, if desired.

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