Make the dough first, before the filling; roll out and place bottom crust in pan and chill. It will be much easier to handle and fill.
DIRECTIONS: Pre‐heat oven to 425° with rack in bottom third of the oven.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, pinch of cayenne, chopped ginger and salt. With paddle attachment, pastry blender, or fingers, cut butter and shortening into dry mixture until pea‐sized crumbs are formed. Slowly add ice water just until dough comes together around the paddle (not sticky). Add 1 tsp. additional water at a time if dough is too dry.
Divide dough in 2 pieces. Make 1 piece larger than the other for the bottom crust. Roll between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap, to about 1/8" thick. Peel off parchment layer and invert into lightly greased bottom of tart pan. Peel off second sheet and press dough to form to walls. Make the side walls double thick, so you can attack top dough to it. Take the left over scraps of dough and combine with the other piece. Roll so it is larger than the bottom crust. Store flat in the refrigerator until ready to top. Cover and chill dough before filling.
Once bottom crust is cold and set, it is time to fill your slab pie. Keep crust cold until all parts are chopped and ready to go. Finely chop the apricots and ginger and mix together, set aside. Measure out preserves and warm slightly (not hot), so it spreads easier. Peel, cored and slice pears lengthwise in 1/8 to ¼‐inch slices.
TO ASSEMBLE (see below for visual step-by-step):
Roll out dough, separate by parchment, on sheet pan. Place bottom crust into the tart pan.Double the thickness of the side crust by folding over extra or using the scraps that have fallen off.
Spread the apricot preserves on bottom and sides. Sprinkle half the chopped apricots and ginger over the preserves. Peel, core and slice pears and then fit pear pieces into the shell.
Brush remaining jam over the pears, sprinkle with remaining apricots and ginger, and place the top crust over the filled pie. Press top down onto the edges of the pan, using the edge to press off the extra overhanging dough.
Reroll scraps and cut the top tree decorations out of the rolled dough. Glaze the top crust and the trees, and place tree shapes onto top crust.
Bake the pie in the bottom third of a pre‐heated 425° oven for 15 minutes, turn down to 375° and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until golden brown. Time depends on filling and thickness of pie.
Pie crust may be frozen for later use; wrap in plastic and freeze. You can fill frozen pie crust and put into oven, without thawing.
Chef’s Note: Use the best quality apricot preserves you can find. It will make your pie truly outstanding.
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