The turnover of the season- spiced pear and white port

 Oh my god, how I used to love my mother´s apple turnovers.When the nights start drawing in and there´s a nip in the air, our thoughts turn to baking. Autumn fruits, plums, pears, apples and blackberries are plentiful and combined with warm spices and flaky puff pastry, one´s kitchen is guaranteed to be filled with the homey aromas of autumn.
These little lovelies are much more sophisticated than the turnovers from my childhood.These are turnovers for grown-ups.They are filled with a very subtle natural sweetness of pears and dates.The dates are the only sweetener here and pair well with an infusion of ginger cinnamon and allspice.Turnovers are often made as a sort of portable snack or dessert and therefore make a great healthy option for lunch boxes and picnics.Their storage options are also good.....
Turnovers are best enjoyed the same day you bake them, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days; refresh them in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 6 minutes.
Unbaked turnovers can be stored in the freezer, individually wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks. You can bake them directly from the freezer—just add 5 to 8 minutes to the baking time and proceed as directed.)
    Spiced pear and white port turnovers
    For the filling
    6 to 8 pitted and finely chopped Medjool dates
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
    5 or 6 ripe mrdium Rocha pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into small dice
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    Pinch ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon flor de sal

    1/4  cup / 60ml of good quality white port

    For the turnovers
    About 1 pound commercial or homemade puff pastry
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons heavy cream

        To make the filling, Put the dates and baking soda in a small bowl and add enough hot water to cover the dates. Stir to dissolve the baking soda, which will soften the skins of the dates and allow them to blend more easily into the pears. Let the dates soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the dates and, using a spoon or a fork, mash them slightly until they’re smooth and soft.
        In a medium sized pan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the mashed dates, pears, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the dates and pears are starting to soften and the spices are well distributed. At this point the pears will seem dry, add the 1/4 cup (60 ml) white port. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes more. You want the dates to dissolve into the pears and the pears to soften somewhat, so keep cooking until you have a soft pear compote. Remove from the heat and let cool. You should have about 3 1/2 cups. (The compote can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week and can be used for breakfast with yoghurt cut through)

        To make the turnovers, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
        On a well-floured work surface, roll the puff pastry into a thin rectangle. Cut out 8 4" (10cm) identical squares.

        Place about 1/3 cup (80 grams) pear compote off centre in each square. (You will probably have some pear compote left over) Using the back of a spoon, spread the compote a little so it fills half the square diagonally and leave a little empty lip around the filling to allow for the sealing of the dough triangle. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the empty pastry dough with the egg wash. Carefully fold the egg-washed dough over the compote and use your fingers to pinch the turnover triangle together. Use the tines of the fork to firmly press the edges of the turnover together and make sure the turnover is well sealed. Repeat with the remaining dough and pear compote. Reserve any remaining egg wash. 
         Transfer the turnovers to the prepared baking sheet. Add the cream to the remaining egg wash and whisk with a fork. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the turnovers with the egg-cream mixture. Bake until the dough is entirely browned and baked through, 50 to 60 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the pear turnovers cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the filling to cool. The turnovers are best enjoyed the same day you bake them, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days; refresh them in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 6 minutes


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