1 cup dried Calimyrna figs (5 1/2 oz.), stemmed and quartered
1 cup water
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar; plus 1/2 Tbsp. more, for sprinkling
1/2 of a vanilla bean
6 medium Bartlett or Bosc pears (3 lb.)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Rolled-out pastry dough for a double-crust 9-inch pie, chilled
How to Make It
Combine figs, water and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan; split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out seeds and add seeds and bean to saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until figs are soft, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer figs to a small bowl and set aside. Continue simmering syrup until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes more. Let cool.
Peel, quarter and core pears, then thinly slice crosswise, place in a large bowl and toss gently with lemon juice. Add cornstarch, 1/3 cup of remaining sugar, and reserved figs and syrup. Mix until combined.
Put rack in bottom third of oven; preheat oven to 400°F. Fit 1 piece of dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Spoon in pear mixture. Top with second piece of dough. Trim and crimp edge. Brush top lightly with water and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 Tbsp. sugar. Cut several vents in crust. Bake for about 1 hour, until crust is golden (filling should be boiling). Let cool completely before serving.