These pint-sized turnovers are made from all-butter whole wheat pastry and are filled with a delicious mixture of pears, honey, walnuts, and a hint of fresh rosemary. Perfect fall pastries for a quick breakfast or afternoon tea.
Man, is it getting cold here! I’m hanging on to autumn for as long as I can, but even I need to admit that winter is definitely coming. Monday and Tuesday saw bucket loads of rain, hurricane level winds, and icy cold nights. The weather folk are even predicting snow for this weekend. Snow! In Victoria! Say it ain’t so! I don’t think I’m quite ready for that level of winter commitment. I’m not about to trade in my apples and pears for cranberries and mandarins just yet. Let me have a couple more weeks? ‘Kaythanks.
Before we dive into the recipe here, let’s talk pastry for a second. Does anyone here struggle like mad when it comes to making perfectly fluffy, flaky pastry? *raises both hands* I’m actually the worst. For some reason, I can never get it to do what I want. It’ll end up dry and brittle. Or all the butter will melt together when I’m kneading it and then it bakes up flat. Or I’ll attempt to make it healthier by using half butter and half coconut oil only to discover that coconut oil will actually tear the pastry to bits when you attempt to do anything with it. Not cool, coconut oil, not cool.
Needless to say that this recipe was a bit of a pain to develop. I tried a few different variations of pastry before finally settling on an all-butter whole wheat dough. This was the best decision I ever made. The cold butter combined with the tri-fold process created this incredibly flaky, gloriously golden and puffy pastry you see before you. Look at that flake! Just look at it! I made that!
Although I had to abandon the coconut oil pastry this time around, I’m going to keep working on it. I really like the idea of using coconut oil as a butter replacement in pastry, so I’m determined to make that work. Stay tuned!
While I battled with the pastry portion of these turnovers, I will brag a little and say that I got the filling right on the very first go. The succulent, sweet pears combined with the fresh rosemary, honey, and walnuts? This filling makes all my dreams come true. There’s a reason these ingredients are continually seen with one another. Walnuts and honey? Amazing. Pears and rosemary? Equally stunning. Throw them all together inside a puffy, flaky whole wheat pastry, and you have some serious fall flavour. For the girl who struggles endlessly with pastry, I’m so shocked at how incredible these turned out. I had to give them away because I knew that if they were sitting on the counter I would eat the whole dozen!
If you’re not ready to give into the winter and Christmas flavours just yet, you should give these turnovers a go. Not confident with pastry? You should definitely make these. It will give your morale a boost once you see that you too can make flaky, bakery-style pear turnovers!
- 190g whole wheat (wholemeal) flour
- 60g unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 250g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 150 ml cold water
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (measured after chopping)
- 2 (525g) slightly under-ripe pears, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 tsp corn starch mixed with 1 tbsp water
- 1 beaten egg, for washing
- raw cane sugar, for sprinkling
- Whisk together the flours, confectioner's sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers or a pastry cutter for 5--6 minutes. There should be some larger pieces of butter along with smaller ones. Pour in the water and bring the dough together with your hands. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and knead together 3 times and then shape it into a round disk. Double wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface into a thin rectangle, about 16 x 6 in. Fold the bottom of the dough up into the centre, then fold the top of the dough down onto the bottom fold. You should have a tri-folded square of dough. Turn the square a quarter turn and repeat the rolling and tri-folding process once more. Wrap the dough back up and refrigerate for another 30 minutes -- 1 hour.
- While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Place a large saucepan over medium-low heat and melt the butter. Add the rosemary to the butter and allow the butter to infuse the herbs for 2 minutes. Once the butter smells fragrant, add the pears, honey, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Stir the ingredients together, cover, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. The pears should be soft, but still retain their structure. You don't want them too mushy. Add the walnuts and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Allow to simmer for a couple minutes until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and let the mixture fully cool before preparing the turnovers.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the pastry into a 14 x 14 square. Cut the large square into 12 smaller, equal-sized squares. Dollop 1½ tablespoons of the cooled filling into the centre of a pastry square. Brush the egg wash around the edges of the square and fold the pastry over the filling to create a triangle. Pinch together the edges using a fork and cut two small vents in the top of the pastry. Repeat with the remaining pastry squares and filling. Arrange the 12 turnovers on the baking tray and brush the tops with the egg. Sprinkle each pastry with some raw cane sugar and bake for 20--22 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the pastry is cooked through. Remove from the oven and place the pastries on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm with a drizzle of honey.
- These turnovers will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.