Recipe courtesy of Ken Haedrich, dean of The Pie Academy

Apple and Pear Pie with Hot Pepper Jelly

Yield 8 - 10 servings

Sounds quirky, but this is one delicious fall pie. The secret? We use hot pepper jelly in place of sugar, giving the pie a spicy, exotic flavor and warmth. You'll love the cornmeal streusel topping, too.



  1. If you haven’t already, prepare the pie dough and refrigerate it for about 1 hour before rolling.
  2. On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the dough into a 12 1/2 - 13-inch circle. Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan, center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan without stretching it. Sculpt the overhanging dough into an upstanding ridge and flute, if desired.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Arrange one of your oven racks in the lowest position and another one in the middle. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  3. Prepare the filling: combine the apples and pears in a large bowl. Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a small bowl; stir into the fruit. Put the hot pepper jelly in a glass measuring cup. Warm it in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to loosen it up, then stir it into the fruit with the lemon juice and minced peppers, if using. 
  4. Turn the filling into the pie shell and smooth with your hands to even it out. Place on a dark baking sheet - preferably one lined with parchment - and bake on the lowest oven rack for 30 minutes. 
  5. As soon as the pie goes in the oven, make the cornmeal streusel. Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Pulse several times, to combine. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly, just until the mixture resembles damp sand that's beginning to clump. Transfer to a bowl, rub gently to even it out, then refrigerate.
  6. When the pie has baked 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and spread the streusel evenly over the top. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake until you can see thick juice bubbling up through the topping around the edge, another 25 to 35 minutes. Another indication that the pie is done is that the entire top surface will heave up slightly - just lift right up - which is a good indication that the juices have thickened. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool for at least an hour before slicing. 

Note: The brand of hot pepper jelly I like comes from Sweet Heat Jam Company. Not only do they sell a superior product, but they've got a great story and they're doing wonderful work. Check them out at

Recipe by The Pie Academy at