Sweet ginger-spiced pear hand pies, flaky pastry and caramelized pear filling packed with favorite fall flavors – ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla – everything to love about traditional pie, in deliciously convenient hand-held form.
for the pie pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1–1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2–1/2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
1/3 cup all-vegetable shortening, very cold or frozen, cut into small pieces
6–7 Tbsp ice water
for the pear filling:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
5 cups pears,¹ peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 tsp fresh ginger paste²
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
before baking: heavy cream, Demerara or other coarse sanding sugar
Make the pie pastry: In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt until well-combined. Add the butter and shortening to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the butter and shortening pieces are evenly dispersed, with the largest pieces about the size of peas.
Add the ice water, a tablespoon or two at a time, and pulse to combine, until the dough is evenly moistened. Pinch a bit of dough together between two fingers to test – the dough should stick together. If the dough seems dry, add a few more teaspoons of water and pulse again.
Transfer the pastry to a clean, well-floured work surface, and divide the dough in half. Gather each half of dough into a ball, then flatten into a round, disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour before you begin to roll out the dough.
Make the pear filling: Heat a skillet over medium-heat. Add the butter, diced pears, brown sugar, fresh ginger, and spices to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the butter is melted and the pears are just soft, but not mushy, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and transfer the pear filling to a mixing bowl to cool. Set aside and let come to room temperature.
Make the hand pies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
Remove one of the dough disks from the refrigerator. Roll the dough out on to a generously-floured piece of parchment paper, until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 5-inch-diameter cookie cutter/biscuit cutter/tea cup saucer etc., cut out six circles. Re-roll the dough as necessary to achieve all six.
Lay the pastry cutouts on one of the sheet pans and top each with a spoonful of the pear mixture, being sure to reserve as much of the pear liquid as possible. Adding too much liquid to the pies will get messy, quickly.
Fold the dough in half, and use your fingers to gently press the edges together. Using the back of a fork, gently press down to create a fluted seal along the edge.
Lightly brush the top of each pastry with cream, and sprinkle generously with Demerara sugar. Cut a small x-shaped slit in the top of each pie, and repeat these steps with the second dough disk.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pies are golden brown and cooked through. Let cool for 10 minutes on a baking rack. Serve warm with a dusting of confectioners sugar, a drizzle of caramel, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
¹ Look for variety of pear that will hold their shape and texture when cooked, such as Bosc or Anjou pears.
² I love the combination of using both fresh and ground ginger, but if you don’t have fresh ginger paste (which I usually find in a tube in the refrigerated section with other fresh herbs), use a total of 1/2 tsp of ground ginger.
Keywords: hand pie, pear, pear pie, pear turnover, pastry, ginger, pear hand pies, easy pie crust, baking with pear, fruit pie, cinnamon