Gingerbread Pear Pocket Pies
Makes about 12 pies
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
14 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup cold buttermilk
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp dark molasses
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pears, peeled and diced
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries, optional
Egg wash: 1 large egg mixed with 1 tbsp water
Sanding Sugar or Confectioner's sugar glaze
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse flour, brown sugar ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and baking powder to combine. Scatter the butter over the top of the flour and pulse several times until butter is the size of peas.
In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg yolks and molasses. Slowly add half of the buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, pulsing to combine. Add more buttermilk, 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing after each addition until the dough begins to hold together in moist clumps.
Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap and gently press into a disk. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Prepare the filling: In a medium skillet, melt butternover medium-high heat. Add the pears and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and lemon juice. Cook until the liquid has almost completely disappeared 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
Transfer the pears to a large bowl and toss with the flour. Stir in raisins/cranberries, if using. Set aside to cool completely.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into halves. On a generously floured surface, roll out 1 half to a thickness of slightly more than 1/16-inch (2 mm). Using a 3-1/2 or 4-inch cutter, cut into rounds and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing apart. Reroll scraps as necessary.
Brush surfaces of the rounds with egg wash. Place about 2 tbsp filling in the center of each round.
On the floured surface, roll out the remaining dough. Using a slightly larger cutter, cut out rounds, rerolling scraps, as necessary (using a larger cutter helps to cover the filling). Place the round on top of the filling, pressing edges together to seal. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork and brush tops with egg wash. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the rounds with sanding sugar.
Place the pocket pies on sheets in freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place oven racks in upper and lower third positions and preheat oven to 375°F.
When you’re ready to bake, pierce the tops several times with the tip of a sharp knife. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through, until pies are puffed and golden brown and filling is bubbling. If tops become too dark while baking, tent the sheets loosely with foil.
Let pies cool on sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.