Marzipan Pear Hand Pies for National Pear Month

Just because you’re fully and wholy pumpkin’d out doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some pie. ‘Tis the season, after all. Because, let’s face it, other than pumpkin, it’s pretty much impossible to get sick of pie. In fact, I’d argue that winter IS pie season. Which is perfect because it’s also pear season, and the two go hand in hand.

Is it just me or are there way more kinds of pears available in stores these days than there ever used to be? From seckels to starkrimson, comice to bosc. They’re downright gorgeous, in colors ranging from green and pale yellow to deep crimson, so I don’t know how I could have missed them before. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.

Marzipan Pear Hand Pies for National Pear Month

These precious hand-pies combine everything you love about pie in a compact package that fits in the palm of your hand. The flaky, buttery crust encases a filling of sweet, aromatic pears studded with bits of marzipan (yes, marzipan. I know, right? Every pie should be made with bits of marzipan.)

The best part? You get your very own adorable little pie all to yourself AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHARE. (Well, that’s Taylor’s favorite part, at least.)

Bartlett Pears - National Pear Month

December is National Pear Month, and we’ve partnered with USA Pears to showcase some of the season’s best varieties. This recipe in particular highlights the Green Bartlett or Williams pear, with its speckled yellow-green skin, classic pear shape, and sweet, aromatic flavor.

Marzipan Pear Hand Pies for National Pear Month

The Bartlett is unique in that it’s one of the few pears that changes color as it ripens, a visual indicator to let you select the perfect pear. When you buy your pears, they’ll likely be lime green and quite firm. As they ripen they’ll change from a lively chartreuse to a rich golden yellow with a blush of orange.

This particular recipe works best with pears that are ripe but firm, so look for pears that are yellowish-green in color and blemish free. If your pears are particularly green and you need them quickly, stick them in a paper bag at room temperature for a day or two to speed up the ripening process. Just keep an eye on them, as pears can go from ripe to overripe much more quickly than, say, apples, and will bruise quite easily in their riper stages.

Marzipan Pear Hand Pies for National Pear Month

Marzipan Pear Hand Pies for National Pear Month

Marzipan Pear Hand Pies for National Pear Month

Why are they called hand pies? Because they fit in your hand (I know, right? What a concept.) Think of it like a sweet empanada. I assembled mine using a 3-inch-circle cutter, a size which I found made for the perfect balance of crust to filling.

For decoration, I cut out some little flowers using the leftover dough scraps, and stuck them to the tops of the pies with a bit of egg wash for glue.

Marzipan Pear Hand Pies for National Pear Month

A light egg wash over the top of the pie will give it a golden brown crust, and a sticky surface for the coarse, crunchy grains of turbinado sugar to stick to.

Marzipan Pear Hand Pies for National Pear Month

That’s pie pear-fection (pear pie-fection?) right there.

Marzipan Pear Hand Pies

Yield: 16-18 pies

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Buttery, flaky pie crust and a filling of sweet, aromatic pears and bits of marzipan in the palm of your hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Green Bartlett pear, ripe but firm, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 ounces almond paste or marzipan, cut into 1/4-inch dice (tossed with a sprinkling of sugar to prevent sticking)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 batch of your favorite pie crust (enough for a double crust pie). I personally like Martha’s Pate Brisee recipe.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • raw or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F; arrange oven racks in top third and bottom third of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Combine diced pear and marzipan in a bowl. Toss with lemon juice, sugar, and almond extract.
  3. Roll out pie crust slightly thinner than if you were making a typical pie. Cut into 3-inch rounds using a circle cutter or by tracing the rim of a drinking glass. Cut as many rounds as you can, then gather scraps into a ball and roll out again to get more rounds (these ‘seconds’ won’t be quite as flaky as the first batch but you don’t want to waste it nonetheless). Arrange half of rounds on prepared baking sheets, leaving 1-2 inches of space between them.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and cream until smooth. Brush egg wash in a 1/2-inch ring around the edges of rounds using a pastry brush.
  5. Spoon heaping teaspoonfuls of diced pear mixture into the center of each round. Gently lay a second round on top of filling, stretching slightly to match up edges. Press the tines of a fork around the edge to seal. Repeat with remaining rounds. If desired, cut decorative flowers or other shapes, adhering them to the tops of the pies with a dab of egg wash.
  6. Place baking sheets in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes (this will prevent the crust and decorations from losing their shape).
  7. Remove from freezer and brush tops with a thin layer of egg wash. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. With a small pairing knife, make a few small slits in the tops of the pies to allow the steam to vent.
  8. Bake pies at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Rotate baking sheets top to bottom. Bake for 10 more minutes or until crusts are puffed and deep golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving warm.

Did you make this recipe?

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the USA Pears. As always, all opinions written are purely our own. We’re incredibly grateful for opportunities like these that allow us to continue sharing delicious recipes with you, so thank you for supporting us and the brands we love.

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20 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. These are so pretty and sound delicious. I looove marzipan in apple and pear pies and bakes, it’s a perfect combo. 

  2. Every time winter rolls around I become addicted to pears! I love these hand pies and I’ll definitely be making them soon!

  3. Marzipan..Yummy! Must taste really good with pears! It would taste good I guess with anything :D

  4. These are so cute!!! I love the addition of marzipan!!!

  5. These pies look so yummy and cute! I love them!

    Paige

  6. Ahhh yes!! Tis’ the season of pie! I like the combination of marzipan and pears! Gotta try that out. I mean anything you put in a pie is always good, right?

  7. Your little hand pies – and your gorgeous blueberries pie – look so delicate, sweet and comforting. A true late autumn dessert :)

  8. These are so cute! I adore marzipan and will happily put it in anything and everything, especially pie :)

  9. Oh, my, yum! These are adorable and I love pears! AND marzipan!

  10. So great recipe!  I love pear, so it’s a perfect recipe for me!

  11. These are beautiful!! Marzipan makes me very nostalgic, my dad worked in a bakery for a big part of my childhood so we always had marzipan baked goods. I love pears, I would love one of these right now!

  12. Bartlett pears are my fave!!! I have an entire fruit bowl full of them right now. One of my favorite things about winter. Also, love the addition of marzipan in these – so cute and festive! 

  13. I love hand pies, marzipan and pears sound like a match made in heaven.

  14. Marzipan brings back serious memories of my Grandma Alice – she used to LOVE anything with marzipan and always had those little marzipan animals/fruits around the house. I am making this for our Christmas Eve family dinner in her honor this year! :)

  15. Mmmmmmarzipan. So lovely with the pears. What a super cute hand pie creation!

  16. Mmm I LOVE marzipan and pear! I made an epic pie like this last year for Christmas–http://www.sucroseandspice.com/?p=1197. SO GOOD.

  17. Totally gorgeous and I’m sure they’re delicious too!   

  18. Marzipan is my love language, and I love that I don’t have to share. 

  19. These are adorable and absolutely delicious! 

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