Vanilla-Scented Quince and Pear Pie

If you’re looking to mix it up in the dessert department this holiday season, this is the pie to do it with. The quince, pear, rosé wine all give this pie a very distinct, yet homey flavor. This pie is a labor of love, but it’s mainly wait time, and it’s definitely worth the wait.

photo 1 (1)Vanilla-Scented Quince and Pear Pie
Adapted from Saveur

  • 2 pie crusts
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, separated into seeds and husk
  • 2.5 lb quince, peeled, cored, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup rosé wine
  • 1.5-2 lb firm, tart pears (such as Bosc or Russet), cored, diced into 1/8 inch cubes
  • 1 cup unbleached cane sugar
  • Egg wash: egg yolks and splash of cream
  • Tools: 9-inch pie tin, cheesecloth
  1. Tie lemon zest, anise, cinnamon, and vanilla husk into cheesecloth to make a spice satchel.
  2. In heavy pot, over medium-low, combine quince, sugar, vanilla seeds, lemon juice, and wine. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Submerge spice satchel into the quince mixture.
  4. Bring to a hard simmer, then bring down to a bare simmer. Let simmer for 10 min uncovered, then cover and cook for 2-3 hours (I let mine go closer to 3 hours), until the quince is rosy, the consistency is jammy, and most of the moisture is absorbed (if you have excess liquid, just strain out). Don’t rush this process!!
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  6. Roll out pie crusts to 1/4 inch. Cut fun shapes out of 1 of the pie crusts if you want.
  7. Place uncut crust into bottom of 9-inch pie pan and fit snugly. Let the edges drape over the sides of the pan.
  8. Spoon a thin layer of the cooled quince mixture on the bottom of the pie tin, then cover with a thin layer of pears. Repeat these layers until the pan is close to full. You will likely have some leftover filling (put it on ice cream!).
  9. Place the second crust over the top of the mixture. Seal the edges and trim them back. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. If you have cutouts, attached them to the pie with the egg wash.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min, then for 40-45 min at 350 degrees (until crust is brown and the filling is bubbly). Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

The 5-Day Thanksgiving Weekend and Brussels Sprouts

As we all know, last Thursday was Thanksgiving. As you probably do not know, my holiday started Wednesday morning and did not end until 6:30 this morning when my alarm clock went off. As I sit here in my office trying to get a grip on the work I have and waiting for my 10 am meeting, I am reflecting on my culinary endeavors of the past 5 days. Despite my best efforts to stay on track on my diet (read: no real effort to speak of), I did not. As a result, I made some of the most delicious, delectable dishes I’ve ever made. The first dish is a brussels sprouts dish that I made as a side dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. I know a lot of people don’t like these little guys, but with bacon, garlic, and shallots, they’re hard to resist.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Shallots

(Original recipe from

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • 1.5-2 lbs brussels srpouts, trimmed and halved (or quartered if you want more loose leaves)
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute bacon until extra crispy and remove the bacon from the pan. Leave most of the bacon drippings in the pan.
  2. Chop the bacon into small pieces.
  3. Reduce the heat on the skillet to medium and add the bacon, shallot, and sprouts to the skillet with the bacon drippings. Saute about 4 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, saute until garlic begins to brown. Stir frequently so as not to burn the shallots or the garlic.
  5. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, or until most of the broth evaporates.
  6. Continue to cook brussels sprouts until then are tender, or until they achieve a dark color that suits your taste. (I personally like my brussels sprouts dark and crispy-ish)

too many brussels for one pan. not a bad problem to have.

brussels with bacon, shallots, garlic added in

close up as brussels near completion