I came into the week without a clue as to what I wanted to do. I played with apple roses, celtic knot lattices, and floral cutouts but in the end chose something entirely different: hand pies. I’ve never tried making hand pies before and I started with the idea of a classic apple hand pie with a cheddar cheese crust shaped to make different flowers. After hearing what everyone else was making for the week, I changed again and decided I would go the savory route. With this in mind, I searched through dozens of recipes. After a while, I noticed a trend in my searches that included pears and cheese. Building off of that, I decided to be adventurous and gave up recipes all together. This week, my pie was entirely my own, the first I can put my name to. I ended up with a pear, gruyere, and toasted almond hand pie. To add the decorative aspect, I poached the pears and stuffed the halves, wrapping them into pear shaped pies.
1 double crust pastry, 4 Bosc pears, block of gruyere, almonds (toasted and chopped), a few sprigs of rosemary, honey (I used solid honey butter)
To make the pies, first make a double crust of your choosing (good for about 3.5 pears or 7 hand pies). I went with the vodka crust which gave me some anxiety as it seemed quite crumbly for a while but ended up delicious. Leave your crust in the fridge and poach the pears by heating a pot of water, adding about 1 cup of sugar and adding the whole peeled pears at a simmer for 15-20 minutes until the pears are softer but not mushy. Remove and drain. Halve and scoop out the center of the pears. Slice the cheese and chop the rosemary finely. Roll out the dough and use a pastry cutter to cut around the pear halves, leaving an edge to close the pies. Brush the edge with an egg white wash. Slice the pear in half again laterally, so there are two non-symmetrical pieces. Then lay the pastry down, spread a layer of honey, place the larger slice on the pastry, stuff the hole with toasted almond and chopped rosemary, then place a couple slices of gruyere on top. Place the second half of the pear over it to cap it off and cover the entire pear half in pastry, pinching the pastry pieces together to seal. Brush the pastry, shape hand pie into a pear, and cut slits down the long length.