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Pear & Tonka Bean Hand Pies

These hand pies are flaky, golden and filled with delicious pear filling scented with lemon and tonka bean.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 7 hand pies
Author Katie Rogers


For the pie dough:*

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter very cold & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons ice cold water (you may need a little more or less depending on where you live)

For the filling:

  • 3 medium pears peeled & diced very small (it's about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tonka bean grated with microplane
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

To finish the pies:

  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water whisked together
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar or granulated sugar
  • ?Note: this pie dough recipe makes enough for one double crust pie or two single crust pies. In this case, I use half of the dough to make 7 hand pies, and freeze the rest for later use!


  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and sea salt together. Toss the butter into the bowl, making sure it is all coated with flour. Start working the butter into the flour, using your hands to really rub the flour and butter together. Rub pieces of the butter between your fingers into thinner pieces, drop these bits back into the bowl of flour, and repeat. Do this until all your butter pieces are broken down into pieces no bigger than a penny. Some of your butter pieces will be smaller and that's fine.
  2. Make a well in the center of your bowl and add two tablespoons of the water. Use one hand with your fingers spread out (as though your were holding a big grapefruit) to drag flour into the water. Keep moving your hand around the bowl bringing the dough together. As the dough begins to come together add a little more water at a time. continuing to bring it together with your hand. You want to stop adding water when the dough is shaggy, moist, and still a bit loose. It should NOT feel sticky or tacky!
  3. Tip the dough out onto a clean countertop and lightly knead it a few times into two discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Place one in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. Wrap the remaining disc in foil and store in the freezer until you want to make pie again!
  4. While your dough is chilling, combine the pears, brown sugar, grated tonka bean, and salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Let the sugar melt and the mixture come to a simmer. Whisk the lemon juice and cornstarch together in a small bowl and pour into the simmering pear mixture. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat when the pear filling is the consistency of loose jam. Let the mixture cool completely.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Roll out your pie dough to about 1/8th inch thickness. Cut seven 4 inch circles from the dough. You may need to gather your scraps and re-roll to get all seven cut outs, just be careful not to overwork the dough! Place the circles on the prepared baking sheet and brush the outer half inch edge of all the circles with the egg and water mixture. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the pear filling into the center of each circle. Fold each in half and crimp the edges together with a fork. Place the sheet pan in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill the pies well.

  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit while you wait for your pies to chill.

  7. After thirty minutes is up, remove the pies from the freezer and cut three little slits each pie so that the steam can escape as they bake. Brush the tops of the pies with the remaining egg mixture and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  8. Place the pies in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 mins until golden, rotating the pan midway through baking. Allow the pies to cool for about 5-10 minutes before eating.