Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, April 22

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Eat Your Sin Cicchetti Opens Today »

Recipe Fri Dec 13 2013

Holiday Dessert Help from Bang Bang Pie Shop


If you're still wondering what to make for your holiday dessert, look no further. Bang Bang's spectacular Pear Brandy Mince Pie is like biting into Christmas. And yes, this pie calls for secular specificity -- I'm sure there is a pie out there that is like biting into Hanukkah, but this is not it. That said, I'm pretty positive that people of all faiths will really, really enjoy eating it.

This pie is great for home cooks because most of the cooking happens outside of the oven, so you can taste the filling and track its progress without having to wait until it's baked. And while it has a lot of ingredients and is a little more time consuming than most pies, you don't have to worry about rolling out a perfect top crust, and can hide any imperfections with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Still feeling sheepish after Thanksgiving's pie debacle? Bang Bang is here to help you with a few expert tips:

  • Don't take any shortcuts with this pie (or any pie for that matter). Be prepared to spend a few days on it -- the extra time makes this pie more special to share with family and friends.

  • Make a proper crust (no food processors, no shortening, and no vodka). Or, buy dough balls directly from Bang Bang for $6 if you don't trust yourself.

  • Give the filling a lot of time in the fridge to let the flavors develop before you fill the crust, and let the dough rest after you roll it out to make it easier to handle.

  • After the dough is shaped in your pie pan (but before you fill it), freeze the dough for a few hours. The faster a pie shell goes from cold to hot in the oven, the better it will turn out.

Pear Brandy Mince Pie

3 T butter
1lb. pears
1/4 cup sugar
2 T Molasses
1/4 cup brandy
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t clove
1/2 t nutmeg
1t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 t lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped cranberries
4oz. dried cranberries
4oz. golden raisins
2oz. toasted chopped walnuts

One recipe pie dough.

Crumble Topping:

4 T butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 t molasses
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt

Crumble instructions:

  • Cream butter sugar and molasses until fluffy and light in color

  • Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl

  • Add dry to butter with short bursts in the mixer, mix only until crumbly then transfer to a large bowl and toss briefly to gather any loose flour

Filling instructions:

  • Melt butter in a large pot. Add pears, sugar, molasses, brandy and lemon juice and cover. Leave over medium heat until liquid is boiling and pears are tender

  • Using a large strainer, remove the pears and continue to reduce the liquid until syrupy

  • Combine the pears and the syrup with the remaining ingredients and let the filling chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • Remove 1 C of the filling and puree, then mix the puree back into the rest of the filling

  • Pour filling into a 9" unbaked, cold or frozen pastry crust

  • Top with crumble topping and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, then turn to 350 for 25-30 minutes

GB store

John Greenfield / December 17, 2013 8:19 AM

A pie that would be like biting into Hanukkah would be made of jelly doughnuts, chocolate coins, and/or potato pancakes.

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

GB store



Drive-Thru on Flickr

Join the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Robyn Nisi,
Drive-Thru staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15