Let’s hear it for vanilla, the all-around MVP of the baker’s kitchen! This humble pod contains a magical flavor that enhances desserts from all walks of life, all around the world. Whether you’re employing famous varietals from Madagascar, Tahiti, Tonga, India, Mexico or elsewhere, you’re in for a treat. Baker, blogger and all-around confectionist Sarah Kieffer’s new cookbook features this must-have ingredient in recipes like this pear hard cider pie. 

Nigel Slater describes an apple in his book Ripe as a “quick hit,” but the pear as “something to take our time over.” I would have to agree and have always been partial to pears over apples, especially when it comes to pies. Here, however, I’ve combined them; this pie is chock-full of fresh pears, and their juice is cooked down with a good splash of hard apple cider. It’s a fantastic combination, a perfect pie for crisp autumn evenings and then for breakfast the following morning.

Notes: Your favorite hard cider will work here. I prefer a dry hard cider (Crispin makes a tasty one) in this pie. Regular apple cider will work just fine, too.

Reprinted with permission from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book