A trustworthy pie dough transforms this unique spiced pear filling into incredible pockets of crisp tender flavor. This dough contains vegetable shortening to give the pastry a crumbly texture, and it uses butter to lend both flavor and richness. The sugar incorporated into the pie dough helps the pastry brown beautifully in the oven. As for the filling, cubed pear pieces are slowly cooked in a concoction of brown sugar, honey, water, and lemon juice. The pears release their juices as the mixture cooks, making a delicious syrup that coats the fruit. A traditional blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger enhances the flavor of the pears, and an additional spice called star anise is the secret ingredient to the spicy sweetness of the pears. In harmony with the other spices, the star anise doesn’t overwhelm the pears with too strong of an anise flavor but instead compliments all of the other complex autumnal flavors cooking into the fruit. Small circles of the dough are stuffed with a tablespoon of the cooked pear filling before they are sealed and coated in egg wash and raw sugar before baking. The final product is a tender and crisp pastry with crunchy bits of raw sugar clinging to a crust that easily gives way to a pouch of delicate pear. Make these for a gathering of friends or just to keep on the counter for your family; whatever the occasion, these hand pies will not disappoint.

Micah A Leal

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Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

active:
1 hr 10 mins
total:
2 hrs 45 mins
Yield:
24 pies
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Ingredients

Dough
Filling
Topping

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Make Dough: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter and shortening; pulse 10 times or until butter resembles small pebbles. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and pulse 5 times until dough clumps. If dough hasn’t clumped, add remaining tablespoon water and pulse. Press dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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  • Make Filling: Combine all ingredients in a large pot, stirring well to coat the pear pieces. Place over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium, stir occasionally, and cook until the liquid thickens into a thick syrup, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the star anise and set Filling aside to cool.

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375°F. On a well floured surface, roll Dough into a large 1/8-inch-thick circle. Use a 3 1/2-inch round cutter to cut out 24 circles, rerolling scraps as needed. Brush permitter of a circle of Dough with egg wash, scoop about 1 tablespoon Pear Filling into the center of the circle, fold one side of the circle to the other side.  Press the edges of dough together and use the tines of a fork to crimp and seal the edge. Place on a prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining Dough and Filling.

  • Brush all prepared pies with egg wash and cover with a sprinkling of raw sugar. Transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes. Bake until the pastry is well browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.