Prickly pears may seem intimidating. They are covered in protective glochids for goodness sake. That simply means they have teeny tiny spikes that hurt if you touch them. But if you are willing to take special care in handling the fruit (see our previous post), you are in for a real treat. The taste of the fruit is almost cotton candy meets raspberry (if you ask me) and the color is out of this world bright reddish purplish pink. I have enjoyed making shrubs, jams and cocktails with the fruit but one of my favorite things is making pie! Here I used a flakey sourdough crust with a sweet lattice top to encase the prickly pear filling.
For the sourdough pie crust (or use 2 store bought refrigerated pie crusts if you are in a pinch):
2 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
2 sticks butter, cut into 1/2" cubes and chilled*
1 cup sourdough starter
For the filling:
4 cups prickly pears, skins removed
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Sourdough pie crust: In a large bowl whisk together the flours, salt and sugar.
Cut in the butter with your fingers until it resembles a coarse meal, with some chunks of butter remaining.
Gradually stir in the starter and fold in with a spatula until it starts to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Using the heel of your hand, you want to scrape the dough across the counter, kind of smearing the butter through the dough.
Repeat about 5 to 7 times.
Gather the dough into two equal balls, wrap with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge for 7 hours or overnight.
Preparing the fruit: Being mindful of the glochids, slice both the top and bottom off of the fruit. You can always use gloves to do this.
Position the fruit to sit on the newly sliced top or bottom and with a paring knife slice the side of the fruit completely off so that the skin is removed. You will now be left with the pulp of the fruit.
Filling: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir the pulp, sugar and cornstarch together. Set fruit mixture aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out both pieces of dough until they are about 1/8 inch thick. Place one round pie shell in pie tin/dish of choice.
Pour the mixture into the pie shell and decide on what you’d like to do for the top. I made a crisscrossed lattice top, but you could always just cover the filling with a pie shell and cut slits on the top.
Transfer to the oven on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm.