pastry, pies and pears December 5, 2012

As someone who is perpetually pressed for time these days and someone who doesn’t enjoy baking all that much (I know, I know), sometimes it’s just nice to have a quick dessert recipe in your back pocket for last minute meals and holiday entertaining. In honor of National Pear Month, a beautiful box of D’Anjou pears landed on my doorstep and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. I’ve had a recipe for hand pies rattling around in my head – a quick & flavorful way to impress folks with a homemade treat and “baking skills”

I have to be honest – it’s really all about the compote filling that gets folded up into these little pockets. It’s chock full of the Indian-inspired spices that I crave with baked fruit: ginger, cardamom, cinnamon. The recipe makes more of this fruit filling than you’ll need – save the rest of it in a mason jar for stuffed french toast, some melted brie on toast or stirred into yogurt. As for the pastry part, use a pre-bought pie crust or your favorite flaky crust recipe. A sprinkle of crunchy sugar makes for a nice bit of extra texture…and serving these warm with some vanilla ice cream won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Spiced Pear Hand Pies – makes 12 to 14 small pies

– 4 large ripe pears (I used D’Anjou) peeled, cored and diced into 1/2″ squares – you can use whatever variety you prefer for baking
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
– 3 tbsp. light agave nectar
– 2 tsp. ground cardamom
– 2 tsp. ground clove
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
– 2 tbsp. flour (for work surface)
– 1 package pie crusts (2 per package) – thawed in the fridge. if you prefer to make your own pie crust, please do – choose whichever recipe is your favorite.
– 1 egg, beaten and sugar in the raw (optional)

– In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter until melted. Add the diced pears to the butter and cook until they begin to release some liquid – about 5-6 minutes. Add the vanilla bean (and the seeds), agave nectar, dried spices and grated ginger. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and cook until mixture begins to thicken and the fruit is tender – about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
– Preheat oven to 375.
– Working on a floured surface, roll out the pie crusts so that they are about 1/3″ thick. Using a 3″ round cutter (I used a large mason jar lid), cut out rounds of the dough. Add a heaping spoonful of mixture to each round and fold over. Using a fork, crimp the edges to seal and place on  parchment lined baking sheet. Once done, place the pies in the fridge for 20 minutes.
– Before baking, vent each pie on the top with two small slits. Brush each with a bit of egg wash. Sprinkle with a little raw sugar (if you have it) for a little crunch – this is completely optional. Bake for 20-22 minutes (depending on your oven) or until bubbling and golden brown – it’s okay if you get some oozing out of the top and sides. They’re supposed to be rustic. Allow to cook slightly before eating – the filling is HOT!

Disclosure: Thanks to the nice folks at USA Pears for the box of beautifully ripe fruit I used to create this recipe!


Denise Dec 5, 2012 03:12 pm

I have been wanting to make hand pies forever. The thing that stops me, besides not being a baker either, is that I am scared it will take a long time. Or crack. Or be dry. I adore all of the flavors in your cute pies – cardamom is my fave! And I love that you use already make pie crust. That definitely would help me along … inspired!

lo Dec 5, 2012 05:12 pm

Gosh, these look good. I always forget to bake with pears while they’re in season, but maybe this will be the small kick of inspiration I need.

Kasey Dec 5, 2012 06:12 pm

I had no idea it was national pear month, but I’ll take it! Never one to turn down a hand pie…

Books n' Cooks Dec 5, 2012 08:12 pm

Yum! I’m always looking for more recipes that use cardamom – I absolutely love the flavor! This sounds like a fantastic recipe. I can’t wait to try it out.

Lynn Dec 6, 2012 06:12 am

I’m putting some pears in a salad to take to my single friends’ dinner this weekend. Your pies look yummy!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar Dec 6, 2012 08:12 am

So pretty! I love a good hand pie :)

Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking Dec 6, 2012 10:12 am

These are perfect size for having like three of them! It is the holiday season after all! So pretty!

sarah b. Dec 7, 2012 12:12 am

yummmm. There is nothing better than a few homemade hand pies hanging out over some oven crispy parchment paper. Special sight. Wishing you well Tami. xo

Laura Dec 7, 2012 09:12 am

Gosh, the sight of handheld pies makes me smile a bit. That happy sprinkle of coarse sugar rules. And your pear filling sounds so bomb, all spiced up and lovely.

Jes Dec 7, 2012 01:12 pm

I guess it’s pear season somewhere (California)? Gorgeous hand pies, though–love how flaky the crust is on them!

Karen Simon Dec 7, 2012 02:12 pm

Hmm! that looks very tasty & suitable for upcomming Christmas days!
There is a nice app online for new recipes everyday! I hope that you will get inspired:

Paula - bell'alimento Dec 9, 2012 05:12 pm

I’m going to need ice cream and these stat.

Elise @ Buttercream & Roses Dec 14, 2012 03:12 pm

You used one of my favorite spices Cardamon. Can’t wait to make these this weekend. With ice cream of course!

Rhonda Dec 16, 2012 10:12 am

Hand pies, much more fun that whole pie! They sound wonderful, I love that you put cardamon in them.

Tiana Kai Dec 18, 2012 04:12 am

Pear may be my favorite fruit! I’ve made little pies like these, but with banana and Nutella, or salty argentinian ones with meat. This sounds wonderful and fun to make. Great pix btw. :)

amelia from z tasty life Jan 4, 2013 08:01 am

i had not visited your blog in a little (been so heads down at work)…and you never cease to surprise. Hand pies are the ultimate yum and yours -of course- look so delicious

kelly Jan 25, 2013 03:01 pm

Made these last night – 15 of them. Not a one left. Super yum! Thanks Tami!

Alex Aug 13, 2013 03:08 pm

I found the tool you used to cut and seal the pies! Aug 30, 2013 10:08 am

Oh these look yummy. I love pears and cinnamon and ginger can make anything they are in super delicious. This will be my favorite pie recipe in pear season.

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Angel Dec 25, 2013 10:12 am

Oh these look yummy. I love pears and cinnamon and ginger can make anything they are in super delicious. This will be my favorite pie recipe in pear season.

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