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Easiest Skillet Fruit Pie

12 Nov

Are you familiar with the concept of a skillet pie? Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was not. In fact, until the moment when I found myself with a huge box of fast-ripening pears and one single layer pie crust, it had never really occurred to me to bake a pie with only one crust. Oh, sure, I like single crust pies and tarts, but a baked fruit pie with only one crust? Why would I do that? One of the most enjoyable things about a fruit pie is the fact that it bakes into one big juicy mass of fruit that melts into its cozy pocket of crust. What’s the point of taking away one of those crusts?

To be honest, I don’t really think you need to take away one of those crusts, but, if you want to know how to make a dead simple pie out of nothing more than some fresh fruit, a tiny amount of sugar, and only a single layer of pie crust, well, you’ve come to the right place.

Think of this as a last minute pie, the type of thing you throw together when you find yourself with unexpected company or a zero-hour request that you provide a dinner party dessert. The entire thing comes together in no time at all, and you use the same pan to both sauté the fruit and bake the pie. All of the great caramelized juices from the pears stay in the pan, allowing everything to mingle and get cozy while the top crust bakes. It’s a great pie for new bakers, for people short on time, one just for people who love pie. Really, it’s just a great pie, period.

Last Year: Butternut Squash Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Easiest Skillet Fruit Pie Recipe

I use a 12-inch skillet to make this pie, as it provides a good amount of surface area in which to cook the fruit. If you only have a smaller skillet, say, a 10-inch one, you may have to divide your fruit into more batches when you cook it initially.

4 pounds ripe pears or apples

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 single layer pie crust (my favorite pie crust recipe is below)

Flaky Tart and Pie Dough Recipe

From Tartine

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup (5 ½ ounces) very cold ice water

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (1 pound) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 5 tablespoons (10 ½ ounces) very cold unsalted butter

pinch of sea salt

In a small bowl, add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve.  Place in the freezer to keep super cold until ready to use.

Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor, or in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces, then scatter over the flour.  If using a food processor, pulse the mixture briefly until it forms into large crumbs and some of the pieces of butter remain pea-sized.  If making the dough by hand, cut the butter into the dough using a pastry cutter.  You will want the dough to have the same crumb-like look with some large pea-sized chunks of butter throughout.

Drizzle the salt and water mixture over the dough and, if using a food processor, pulse until the dough comes together into a ball but is not completely smooth.  You should still see visible butter chunks.  If mixing the dough by hand, drizzle the salt and water mixture over the dough while tossing with a fork.  The dough should come together in a shaggy mass.  Gently mix the dough together until it comes together in a ball but is not completely smooth.  As with the food processor dough, you should still see visible butter chunks.

Divide the dough into 2 equal balls on a lightly floured surface.  Shape each ball into a disk about 1 inch thick.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Makes 2 9-inch or 10-inch tart or pie shells, enough for 2 single-crust pies or tarts, or 1 double-crust pie.

To make the pie:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peel and core the pears or apples. If your fruit is super fresh (meaning, if it is in season and has spent only a handful of weeks in between being on a tree and being in  your kitchen) you don’t even need to peel the fruit, as the skin should be very thin and flavorful. Cut the pears or apples in half, then in quarters.

In a large cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the dark brown sugar, and allow it to melt into the butter just slightly (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Add a small pinch of sea salt. Add half of the quartered fruit, making sure that the fruit is laying in a single layer. Sauté fruit until it is just starting to caramelize on one side. For the pears I used, which were super ripe, this only took about 3 minutes since the juices were just flowing out of them once they hit the hot pan. For less ripe pears, or for firm apples, it could take up to 7 or 8 minutes. Carefully turn the fruit over and caramelize on the other side (again, this could take anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes). Pour cooked fruit into a large bowl, scraping out the caramelized sugar along with it. Add the second tablespoon of butter, the second tablespoon of sugar, a small pinch of sea salt, then the rest of the fruit, and cook in the same manner as you did the first batch. If the sugar and butter start to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to low. When the fruit has cooked, remove the pan from the heat, add in the first batch of fruit, stir gently to combine, and set aside.

On a floured surface, roll out the single-layer pie crust into a circle roughly 1 inch larger than the size of your pan. Gently place the round of dough over the fruit in the skillet, then tuck under any overhanging edges. Slice air vents in the crust. If you want, you can sprinkle a little turbinado sugar over the top of the crust, or brush the crust with a beaten egg, but you certainly don’t have to do either.

Bake the pie in the center of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top crust is dark golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating. The filling will be molten hot.

Serve with freshly whipped cream, whipped with just a pinch of cinnamon.

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19 Responses to “Easiest Skillet Fruit Pie”

  1. Ashley C November 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Wow; looks really pretty. Love the inventiveness.

  2. Annette Kelly November 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    This looks and sounds so good. This is a comfort food for the winter. Yum yum!

  3. Jean Schell November 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    sounds delish & super easy. got to give it a try!

  4. Ann Divelbiss November 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    skillet pie..no way!! how cool is this!!! lovely blog!!!!
    i am not much of a cook…but this is something i think i can manage!!…not that i can’t but i have 3 young grandkids living with me..and somehow i find myself only fixing chicken nuggets,taquitos(frozen!!) and spaghetti(jar sauce!!)..ok..it’s true!!! this receipe makes me want to make homemade!!!.

    • Ann Divelbiss November 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      ps..can i use the pre-made crust dough?!!!

      • savorysaltysweet November 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

        You certainly can (I promise not to tell anyone!).

  5. Else-Maria Tennessen November 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    Yum, sounds like great comfort food!

  6. carla November 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    oohh this looks fab. Really good to have on hand..will definitely add this to my list!

  7. Sheila November 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I’ve never tried a pear pie before – this looks delicious! I think I’m going to have to break down and buy a skillet, I’m seeing more and more great recipes using them.

    • savorysaltysweet November 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      Do it! A cast iron skillet is an indispensable tool. I’ve had mine for about 15 years, and it has seasoned very nicely. I treat it well, so it cooks like a champ. You’ll love having one.

  8. Janet November 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    This sounds really good . . .
    I’m looking forward to trying it!

  9. Melissa Burford November 12, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Looks wonderful…now I have a new recipe to use up the last of my harvest fruits.

  10. Allison November 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    That looks delicious!! I just stocked up on apples to make apple crisp soon, but now I might change my mind…

  11. Misty November 13, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    This sounds delish! I can’t wait to try it out! Thanks for offering such a wonderful recipe!!

  12. Darlene November 13, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Found your blog via Piddix. Love this recipe. I’m pinning it.

  13. Marissa (@pinchandswirl) November 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    This idea is new to me – nice! Just got a ton of apples from our CSA – this looks like a great way to use some of them.

  14. diane morris November 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    this looks great! i just printed the recipe to make for my son who loves apple pie…..now if i can only find my cast iron skillet! can’t remember when i used it last. will this only be successful in cast iron?

    • savorysaltysweet November 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

      I would imagine that any oven-safe pan would work well here. No nonstick, Teflon-coated types, obviously. Let me know if you give it a try!

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  1. Mayonnaise Pastry | familyrecipebooks - November 21, 2012

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