Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pear, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Hand Pies

Pear, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Hand Pies

It feels a little disingenuous to post this without divulging that that when I made these savory pocket pies, I wasn't able to eat them.

For the past two weeks, I've been doing a detox/cleanse guided by my friend Michelle, a naturopath in Detroit. I'd been interested in doing something of the sort-- prompted by a lethargic feeling after weeks of travel with some overly-indulgent food choices as well as a cycle of bad migraines. I was interested in cleansing, but also in potentially identifying and/or eliminating some migraine triggers. I saw that Michelle was offering a guided detox and asked it I could participate from afar. I especially liked that  it offered the support of a doctor and a participant community-- even a remote one-- and I think it made me more likely to follow through and stick with it over the two weeks.

The detox worked similarly to a food elimination diet, cutting out food items that are inflamatory and/or a common source of sensitivities. That meant, roughly, no wheat, coffee, dairy, soy, sugar, alcohol, peanuts, corn, nightshades, oranges & grapefruit, and processed foods and meant a lot of fruits and vegetables, grains like quinoa and brown rice, nuts, coconut or almond milk, green tea, grass-fed meat, fermented foods, and water.

It was much easier than I imagined and I adhered to it pretty strictly, though did allow myself a glass of red wine on one or two occasions (1 being the evening after I finished moving). After I broke by caffeine/coffee addiction, which resulted in a few minor headaches, I felt really good, healthy, and energetic throughout.

Pear, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Hand Pies

I'm still in the process of adding foods back in and testing sensitivities. I know right now that I'm planning to cut out a lot of dairy, particularly heavy creams, soft cheeses, etc.--this was a sensitivity I was already fairly aware of, but the detox helped me to really see what an effect it has on my digestion, mental awareness, and general well being. I don't think I have other serious sensitivities, which I'm thankful for, but feel more conscious now of the effect that an excess of wheat and sugar has on my body as a whole, and in general am very appreciative of the consciousness and self-care approach that the detox has brought to my eating habits.

Like any time restrictions are set on creative process, I really enjoyed the way the cleanse injected some new energy and innovation into my daily cooking. Working within the detox's constraints, actually allowed me to transcend my cooking comfort zone and "same old" recipe mode, and try out some new things-- namely crispy chickpeas, quinoa-carrot-cabbage soup, and a variety of green smoothies.

That being said, I'm also excited to return to the world that includes Pear, Gruyère & Caramelized Onion Hand Pies. Quite versatile, these can serve as a breakfast, lunch (with a side salad accompaniment), or a dinner appetizer or side. I relied on friends to be taste testers and they gave it a thumbs up. Feel free to substitute the pears for apples, and the gruyère and rosemary with other cheeses and herbs.

Pear, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Hand Pies, close-up

Pear, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Hand Pies
Makes 8-10 depending on size

Nothing in the House Pie Crust
3/4 lb. (about 3) Bosch pears, cut into small wedges
1 Tablespoon. olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup gruyère, grated
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 beaten egg + 1 tsp. milk/cream for an egg wash.

1. Prepare Nothing in the House pie crust as per the directions. Once chilled, roll out dough onto a floured surface and cut into circles of equal size (mine are about 6-inches). Place cut circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the fridge while you prepare the filling.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add 1 Tblsp. olive oil and sliced onions to a cast iron skillet and place over medium heat. Stir to coat onions with olive oil. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Sprinkle onions with salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 25-30 more minuted until onions are caramelized. 

3. Place onions in a medium sized-bowl and add pears, gruyère, rosemary, and salt & pepper to taste. Remove cut dough from fridge and add a scoop of filling to one side of every cut circle. Brush edges of dough with cold water and fold the other half of the dough over the filling to form a crescent shape. Using a fork, poke a steam vent in the top and press the edges to seal.

4. Brush hand pies with egg wash and sprinkle with flake sea salt, if desired. Bake hand pies on parchment-lined baking sheet for 35-40 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Crust will be golden brown when done. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool slightly. Serve still warm.

Related recipes:
Ham, Gruyère & Caramelized Onion Galette with Fried Egg
Heirloom Tomato Pies with Bacon, Cheddar & Thai Basil Jalapenos
Pear Tarte Tatin
Savory Apple Tart with Caramelized Onion, Gruyère & Sage

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