Fall Robust Flavors

By Cindy Adams

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time for feasting, celebrating, and indulging in delicious appetizers, entrees and cocktails. In general, a traditional meal features robust flavors that are fun to compliment with creative cocktail pairings.

A favorite combination I found for fall is pumpkins, apples, pears, and ginger, with some sage and thyme added in. Start with Pear & Brie Skewers for an appetizer while sipping a Bourbon Pear Spritzer, then try Pumpkin Gnocchi, and end with Brown Butter Apple Pear Pie. Enjoy baking!

Brown butter is a cook’s best friend—it adds richness and depth of flavor to any food it touches. And, thankfully, it’s easy to make. Simply melt butter over medium heat until it smells nutty, and well, delicious. What you’re doing is toasting the milk solids that are inside butter, and those are what give brown butter its name. Here, tossed with pears, apples, and vanilla, you get something wonderfully sophisticated and not overly sweet—perfect for impressing guests. If you want to go the extra mile, serve with creme fraiche or lightly sweetened mascarpone.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 lb pears (about 5), peeled, cored, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, chopped
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar, plus sprinting
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 disks pie crust
1 large egg lighten beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the lowest position. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat, swirling until golden and nutty smell, pour in bowl and let cool.

Toss pears, apples, flour, vanilla, salt, brown butter and 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl.

Roll out 1 disk of piecrust on lightly floured work surface to about 14 inches in diameter. Place in a 9-inch pie plate, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang. Fill crust with pear mixture.

Roll out remaining disk to about 12 inches in diameter and lay over pears. Fold top edge over and tuck under bottom edge as desired. Brush with egg, crimp, and sprinkle 1 Tbsp sugar.

Bake on bottom rack until deep golden brown and juices start bubbling through the cracks, 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool for at least 4 hours before slicing. Serves: 8