Ginger-Pear Pie and Turnovers: My OH my!

ginger-pear-pie-or-turnovers

Ginger is one of the most soothing, yet also invigorating spices we humans have discovered. We use it in both savory cooking and sweet baking. We drink it hot in tea, and cold in soda. We make ginger ale, and ginger beer. We even add ginger to our bath soaps and shampoos.

Ginger can also lay claim to being one of the spices most often hailed as medicinal to humans. It’s been said to ease motion sickness, lower cholesterol, raise low blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Old wives’ tales say ginger is an antiseptic, anti-nausea, antiviral, antifungal, anticlotting analgesic, anti “wind” miracle. I’m no doctor, so I can’t speak to those claims but ginger is a delicious, versatile spice that is gaining in popularity every day.

This Ginger Pear Pie makes the most of two different types of ginger, plus sweet fresh pears. The fruit season is oh-so-fleeting here in New England, so when we have fresh produce we want to take advantage of it.

I especially love the puff pastry crust on this pie. For those of you who still feel pie-crust challenged, this may be just the answer you’re looking for. It comes together in a snap, and makes enough for two pies.

Let’s dive in to Ginger Pear Pie.

For the crust, cut the cold butter into the flour. Work some pieces in very finely, but also leave some pieces large, the size of chickpeas or beans.

Using a light touch, stir in the sour cream. Don’t over-mix or overwork the dough.

As the dough begins to hold together, dump it onto a clean work surface…

…and gently knead it a few times to bring the pieces together into one ball. No need to knead firmly, a light touch is best.

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to a rectangle approximately 8” x 11”. A standard sized piece of paper makes a good reference.

Fold the dough in thirds as you would a business letter. Turn the “letter” so that the folded ends are at the top and bottom, and repeat the rolling and folding process.

Each roll and fold combination is called a turn. After these two turns, wrap your dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before using. You can store the dough up to overnight in the fridge before using, or freeze airtight at this point. The dough will hold very nicely in the freezer for up to 3 months.

While the dough is chilling, let’s make filling. (Sounds like a baker’s rap song!)

Place the raisins and diced ginger in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the fruit is plump.

The filling at this point is so fragrant you don’t think it can get any better, but wait… there’s more!

Bring on the pears. You’ll need 6 medium pears, or 5 large. These are d’Anjou pears, but you could certainly try other varieties if you favor them.

Peel, core and chop the pears. You’re looking for dice-sized pieces. Too small and you’ll end up with “pearsauce.”

Add the pears to the pot with the raisins and diced ginger.

No, I haven’t been out picking nuts and twigs for my pie. On the left is a whole nutmeg, and on the right is our new dried ginger root. By having the dried whole spiced to grate or grind yourself, you get the freshest flavor in your baked goods.

The easiest way to grate these spices is with a microplane or spice grater. The small sharp holes give great control over how much spice you grate out at one time.

Just hold the ginger root firmly in your fingers and rub back and forth over the holes of the grater.

Just a few quick rubs, and you’ll have a nice pile of fresh, fragrant ginger ready to go. Use the same method for the whole nutmeg, too.

The best thing about whole fresh spices is their shelf life. Pre-ground spices lose their potency in about 6 months. The whole spices last twice as long, and often longer.

Add the butter, sugar, lemon juice, thickener, and spices. In this photo, I hadn’t put the pears in yet, but do make sure they’re in there before you start simmering the filling.

Simmer the filling for another 15 minutes, just enough to soften the pears, but not so long as to turn them to mush.

While the filling simmers, take half of your dough from the fridge. This is enough dough to cover one 9″ pie, or four 6″ pies. Freeze the rest of your dough for another day, it’s great to have on hand.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4” thickness. You’ll want to cut the puff pastry while it is cold, so no dilly-dallying.

Cut circles of dough about 1” smaller than the top of your pie pan. So, 8” for a 9” pie, etc. I’m using these cute little stainless steel pie pans, so I’m cutting smaller circles.

Brush the tops of the cold dough with beaten egg, sprinkle with some sparkling sugar, and lay the dough pieces over the pie filling. Bake in a 350°F oven until the filling is hot and bubbly and the pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Serve warm. A touch of whipped cream or a bit of vanilla ice cream is lovely with this pie.

Looking for another delicious way to serve this filling and puff pastry? Try turnovers.

Cut several rounds of dough, about 4 inches across.

Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each circle, brush the edge with egg wash, and seal with a fork. You may need to smush the filling a bit so that the pear pieces don’t poke holes in the tender dough.

Brush the tops of the turnovers with egg wash, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.

What a decision! To make the pie first, or the turnovers? Flip a chocolate coin, and off you go!

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Ginger-Pear Pie or Turnovers.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Lish

    Ginger is one of my favorite flavors. Every time I have leftover buttermilk I make your guaranteed gingerbread. I used the freshly grated dried whole ginger, preserved ginger I put by last summer, and the mini pieces of crystallized ginger. I will be making these turnovers as soon as we get some pears at our local orchard, can’t wait! Maybe some ginger ice cream on top!
    Ginger ice cream on top-Wow that sounds wonderful!. JMD@KAF

    Reply
  2. Erin in PA

    This looks just wonderful! It’s not quite pear season here in PA, but I am definitely filing this away for when they are ready in a few weeks. Right now we are knee deep in delicious peaches (peach jam and peach salsa are on today’s cooking list) and I cannot wait to use my boiled cider soon with apple crisp! – Do you think boiled cider would add a nice note to this recipe?
    We haven’t tried any boiled cider, but if you do let us know what you find. JMD@KAF

    Reply
  3. Rosa

    Those pies and turnovers look fantastic! I love that gorgeous flavor combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa
    Thanks Rosa, it is a real winning combo. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Divine Bird Jenny

    I couldn’t find the actual recipe for these–when I click the link, it takes me to the main page for all KA recipes. It’s not listed in the index, either. Can you check on that? I happen to have ginger and pears at home and would LOVE to make this tonight!!
    Thanks, all set now- PJH

    Reply
  5. Paul from Ohio

    While the dough is chilling, let’s make filling. Does indeed sound like a baker’s rap song. And oh lookie – another recipe I can use my Turnover Press on before Apple time! Pears are one of those fruits that are so delicate in flavor and must be just ripe to be perfect that I often don’t buy them much. But with your hard work, and the combo with ginger, looks like another one I’ll need to be trying, soonest. You folks surely do keep me baking! What better thing to do whilst the watercolor is drying. Gotta let it dry between steps sometimes and baking is a sure fire way to encourage me to do that. Gotta bake!

    Reply
  6. HMB

    YUM, this looks so good! The pears on my backyard tree aren’t ready yet …
    Time to put the recipe in your Recipe Box online. It’ll be there when you need it. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Maggie

    That crust looks amazing! I love the combination of pears and ginger. I have a recipe for ginger pear muffins that’s a favorite. I must admit I’m tempted to put crystalized ginger in this. But then I’m tempted to put crystalized ginger in practically everything! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  8. Angela

    I LOVE turnovers and these look fantastic! Kind of makes my lunch unappealing right now as I want to reach into the blog and grab a turnover instead!

    Reply
  9. Sara from Hawaii

    We don’t have pears locally, but we do have mangoes! I’m thinking that with this recipe, it would be a delicious dessert. What are the approximate measurement for the pears? Sorry, I’m one who needs instructions … can’t just wing it! lol … Thanks in advance. :D
    I’d say the pears and mangoes are probably fairly close in size. Try using 6 mangoes, for about 4 cups of diced fruit. You may need to adjust the amount of thickener, too. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. carml13

    I hope I can still remember this come Sept. when things will (hopefully) cool down enough to bake again. Or at least enough for the butter in the puff pastry not to melt on me. But, man, it looks yummy.
    We hear ya! It’s been a very hot summer, and humid. Here’s hoping for a lovely fall baking season! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. Elizabeth

    I usually use light (reduced fat) sour cream rather than full fat but wasn’t sure it would work well in a puff pastry. Do you know if light sour cream can be used successfully in the Blitz Puff Pastry recipe? Thanks!

    There is nothing like the full fat in some recipes! This may be one where you will sacrifice texture and flavor with low or non-fat ingredients. We suggest you try the recipe as written the first time and then make your sour cream subsititution the second time around. Compare your results and see which one will meet your texture and flavor (and nutrition) preferences. I see others have reported acceptable results with yogurts or light sour cream. Only your own kitchen test will be able to answer this for you! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  12. Dwaine Gipe

    I knew there was a reason why I planted Asian pears. This was it. First making was great. This must have been the reason for the season.

    Reply
  13. KAPP

    This looks delish and will try. I’m going to use dried cranberries instead though…any suggestions/helpful hints/lessons learned before I make this subsitution? LOL…I’ll let you know how they turn out! thanks for the wonderful blog. I turn to this daily for inspiration and motivation.
    I think the cranberries would work just beautifully. I’m excited to know how yours comes out, do let us know.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  14. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J. - BRAZIL

    I´d made these turnovers and they become great…LOVELY and with fine texture!
    As enhancer i´d added corn starch, just little bit, aqnd it works well.
    I loved the fillings and it´s smell and taste!!!!!!!
    Excelent RECIPE!!!

    Reply
  15. KimberlyD

    I often mix pears and apples together when I make a traditional style apple pie. Could you leave out the rasins?

    Of course, Kimberly. About 50% of people don’t like raisins, so they’re always optional, except then they’re the star of the show – e.g., sour cream raisin pie, which would be pretty sad without its raisins! :) PJH

    Reply
  16. Shellie

    Delicious! I used a few dried blueberries and less ginger (trying to make it more kid friendly), 1 tsp of cornstarch and pears from our tree! The dough was very easy to work with. I bake a lot, but pastry has never been my forte. I made a few turnovers and topped an 8″ pie. Just delicious!

    Reply
  17. jjbuster

    This was wonderful. I set aside the recipe until these cooler fall days, and tried it this weekend for a friend’s birthday party. What a hit! The spicy warmth of the ginger, the creamy mellowness of the pears, and the robust juiciness of the raisins! Not to mention the incredible richness of the puff pastry. I meant to follow the recipe just as it was given, but I found I couldn’t quite. A pie’s not a pie to me until it has a bottom crust, so I snuck in my usual sweet pasty pie crust underneath, and while I loved the way the filling smelled as I stirred it, I couldn’t find the cinnamon in the recipe, and my baker’s hands slipped some in. I think they just assumed you forgot it! ;-) I guess I also didn’t cook the filling for long once I added the pears, as I was wary of the pearsauce you mention, but the pear texture in the finished pie was perfect.

    One question – I don’t understand why it’s better to have the puff pastry top be so much smaller than the pie itself, instead of fulling covering the pie with vents cut in. I cut it a little bigger than specified, and still had pie eaters complaining of being shortchanged!
    I loved reading about your sneakiness. My husband is always saying I could never duplicate anything I do because I am always fooling around with the recipe! Sounds like you are one of those, too! You know, the only reason why one may cut a smaller PP round to cover the filling may be so the filling may be seen. I am with you, though. Cut a larger round to cover fully as the PP is equally as yummy as the filling! Elisabeth

    Reply

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