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Pear & Cheese Turnovers

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Gorgonzola cheese and pears are a traditional wedding of flavors at the end of many an Italian meal. If you're not a fan of strong-flavored Gorgonzola, don't skip this recipe; just leave it out and make pear turnovers (or tone it down by using a milder-flavored cheddar or blue cheese).

At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
12 turnovers

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

Pastry

Filling

  • 2 cups peeled and 1/2" diced pears (about 3 to 4 pears)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans or almonds
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
  • extra pecans or almonds (for garnish)
  • whipped cream (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, and place them in the freezer.
  2. Unwrap the frozen sticks of butter, and press the end of each stick into some of the "dusting" flour. This will help give you a grip on the butter while you're grating it. If you have a food processor with a medium-to-large shredding disk, use it; if not, grate the butter by hand, into large flakes, on the coarse holes of a box grater.
  3. Remove the dry ingredients from the freezer, and use your fingers to toss the cold flour and butter together until they're evenly mixed.
  4. Stir the sour cream and cold water together, and add this mixture to the flour and butter.
  5. Use a dough scraper or spatula to fold and pat the mixture until it starts to hold together. You'll be able to see individual chunks of butter — that's OK, they shouldn't mix in.
  6. Divide the dough in half. Place each half in the center of a piece of plastic wrap, and form each piece into a 6" x 6" square. Wrap the squares well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove one square of dough from the refrigerator and use the dusting flour to heavily flour both sides. Quickly roll the dough into a 10" x 12" rectangle.
  8. Working with opposite shorter sides (10" sides), fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. Use a rolling pin to flatten and widen the dough until it's about 5" x 12".
  9. Again, working with opposite shorter sides (the 5" sides), fold the dough into thirds to form a rectangle of about 4" x 5".
  10. Return the dough to the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until it's firm.
  11. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. The dough may be prepared up to this point up to 2 days before using, or up to 1 month before, if kept frozen.
  12. To make the filling: While the dough is chilling, place the chopped pears into a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Add the lemon juice and sugar, and cook over low heat, or in the microwave, for about 5 minutes, until the pears are tender. Set aside to cool.
  13. To assemble the tarts: Preheat your oven to 425°F. Have ready a sharp knife and ruler for cutting the pastry; the filling, and ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
  14. Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator. (If it's been in the freezer, let it thaw, wrapped, until it's pliable.) Heavily flour both sides, and roll it into a 10" x 15" rectangle. Use flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface. Turn the dough over and flour underneath it to be sure it's not sticking.
  15. Cut the dough into six 5" squares. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of pear in the center of the dough. Top with a few crumbles of Gorgonzola and nuts.
  16. Brush the edges of the pastry lightly with water. Fold one corner of the dough over the filling diagonally until it meets its opposite corner; you've now got a triangle-shaped turnover. Press the edges very lightly to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  17. To bake the turnovers: Place all of the turnovers onto the prepared baking sheets. Brush them with water, and sprinkle them with coarse sugar.
  18. Bake the turnovers for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Serve them warm with toasted nuts and a dollop of cream.