Pear and Brie Hand Pies

You might have noticed how things look quite different around here lately! For the past few months I have been working with Lindsay of Purr Design to create a custom web design for my blog. I am so excited for all of the user friendly changes and features. I am still reformatting each and every one of my recipes (that’s over 720!) so you might find a few quirks that I am trying to fix. As soon as I have everything up and running I will give you a tour! :)

I can’t believe how fast summer flew by. It seems like one day I am super excited for grilling out, hanging around the pool and enjoying long summer nights. Now I am looking forward to sweatshirts and jeans, college football watching marathons and cooler weather. It seems like every season that comes around I say that it is my favorite (except winter!). I really enjoy the changing of the seasons and anxiously await my favorite things about each season.

One of my favorite things about fall is all of the delicious the cooking and baking. Pumpkin recipes, juicy apples, warm soups and ripe pears. As you might remember, I am overloaded with ripe pears from my parent’s pear tree. I have over ten pounds of pears that I have been throwing into anything and everything. Buttery brie and sweet pears are one of those classic combinations that I go crazy for. Whether they are paired in a simple salad, a grilled Panini or these incredible hand pies, the combination just screams fall! So forget the plates and utensils! You won’t need them! Everything is baked right into its own little pie crust that fits right in your hand!

Pear and Brie Hand Pies

Simple hand pies stuffed with diced pears, warm spices, chopped pecans and a slice of brie all baked up in a flaky, tender little pie crust that fit right in your hand! These little pies are the ultimate grab-and-go dessert.

Yield: about 24 hand pies

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Pie Dough:
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Turbinado sugar

For the Filling:
3 to 4 pears, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 ½ cups)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
4 ounces brie cheese, cut into 24 squares

Directions:

For The Pie Dough: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 pulses. Transfer mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. Using a folding motion, use a rubber spatula to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on floured work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting and chilling process with the remaining half of dough.
In a medium bowl, combine diced pears, cinnamon, cardamom, flour, sugar; set aside.
Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling onto one half of each circle of dough. Sprinkle with pecans and place a brie square on top. Fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie by pressing with tines of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough and filling. Place the hand pies back on the parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, cut a small slit in each and lightly brush with the egg wash. Sprinkle sanding sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.

Source: adapted from Cherry Hand Pies pear filling adapted from Allrecipes

One Year Ago: Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas 

Two Years Ago: French Quarter Beignets