Cookbooks: Pear and Brie Turnovers and Pie by Ken Haedrich

I chose Pie by Ken Haedrich at the Boston Brunchers Harvard Common Press event because the few pies I have made were subpar. I have been wanting to build my pie technique and want to consistently make delectable pies.

 Pie is truly an encyclopedia of pies filled with 300 mouthwatering recipes. The book is filled with recipes for fruit, buttermilk, icebox, ice cream and other savory ideas. Peppered within the book are sections called Recipe for Success, offering tips to ensure the pies were made well.

I decided to make the Pear and Brie Turnovers because I wanted to make individual servings. I love melted brie and fruit and I had these super ripe pears ready for use.

The end result was flawless and as a result, they were demolished for dessert. Everyone complimented me how lovely the tender cream cheese pastry was and I was asked for the recipe. The pear and brie turnover’s had a buttery, flakey crust and it had a faint sweet cheese flavor. Going forward, I plan on using this recipe as my standard pie or pastry crust.

Adapted from Pie by Ken Haedrich

1 recipe Tender Cream Cheese Pastry for a single crust divided Tender Cream Cheese Pastry

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces (half a 8 ounce package) cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 T confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 c ap flour
Using wooden spoon, cream the butter, cream cheese, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar, then add the flour about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough coheres, turn it out onto a floured surface.
Gently knead 2 or 3 times. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Knead each piece into a  ball, then flatten it into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably longer, until firm enough to roll but not too solid.
Butter and cream cheese makes everything better.

Filling

  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp fruit preserves (omitted)
  • 1 large or 2 medium ripe pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • About 1/2 pound Double Cream Brie, sliced (was 1/3 pound)

If you haven’t already, prepare the pastry. Divide it into 2 equal-size balls. Flatten each into a 1/2-inc thick disk and wrap in plastic. Refridgerate until firm enough to roll, 1 to 1/2 hours. Lightly butter a large baking sheet. Mix  the flour and granulated sugar together in a small bowl. Working with one piece of dough at time, roll it into an circle on a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper or cling wrap with a floured rolling pin.

Sprinkle lightly with some of the sugar-flour mixture. Arrange a single row of overlapping pear slices over half of the dough. Leave a good 3/4 inch border around the slices, more or less following the curve of the pastry. Sprinkle with a little more of the sugar-flour mixture. Lay slices of Brie over the pears to cover.

Moisten the edge of the pastry with a finger or pastry brush, then fold the empty half of the dough over the cheese. (It works best to fold the paper and dough together over the filling, then just peel back the paper.) Pinch the edges together, rolling them between your fingers into a sort of rope edge. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate while you make the remaining turnovers, putting each on the sheet as it is assembled.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the sheet from the refrigerator and brush each turnover with a little milk. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, then poke the surface 2 or 3 times with a fork to make steam vents. place the sheet on the center oven rack and bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 and bake until golden brown, above 20 minutes. For more even browning, rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees, so that the side that faced the back of the oven now faces forward, about 10 minutes before the turnovers are done. You may see steam coming from the vents. Transfer the turnovers to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Best served 15 minutes out of the oven.

I omitted the use of preserves suggested in the recipe because I only had blueberry preserves on hand.  I increased the amount of brie (just because I love brie) and I did not glaze nor dust with icing sugar the finished product.  The turnovers did not need the additional confectioner sugar. I think if I added preserves the turnover would disguise the interplay of flavors between the brie and pear. I think these adjustments allowed everyone to appreciate the cream cheese crust more.

The poire et brie encroute were well balanced rich and creamy juxtaposed by the the soft and sweet pears. This was a simple, yet sophisticated dessert which really wowed and I was asked for the recipe. I am really looking forward to searching through the rest of Pie to build my repertoire.

 

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