Cinnamon Pear Hand Pies

I know I’ve mentioned that growing up we were not exactly the healthiest of eaters…if it was processed we probably ate it at one point or another.  Good or bad, some of those flavors stick with you and become the underlying layer of your food memories.  For me, one of those flavors is Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls.  We would eat them on Christmas morning at my Grandmother’s house.  I think it started because they were easy for kids to make so it kept us busy while we were (not so patiently) waiting to open our presents.  In general I would not call myself a big fan of cinnamon or cinnamon rolls.  They are so sweet and usually pretty large for one person.  Every now and then though…in the market when I’m picking up the milk…there they sit perched on their shelf with all the other desserts from my childhood.  The other day I felt my arm reaching for them- as they fell into the cart I realized they did, at least, have a box top for education on them, so it wasn’t a complete waste.  Stop for just one minute.  Do any of you feel my pain with this box top thing?! Oh my goodness.  I have never cut so many tiny rectangles out in my lifetime.  There must be an easier way…

When I got them home they sat in the fridge.  For a few days.  I couldn’t bring myself to make them as they were.  Somehow, deep in my being, I thought that if I transformed them we could feel less guilty about eating them.  So we pulled them out and decided to switch it up.  We had some pears that I chopped up and placed in a saucepan with star anise, cloves and vanilla paste.  I let them soften and then removed them from the heat and discarded the spices before giving them a rough blend.  I made a slurry of cornstarch and water and added it to the pear to thicken the sauce.  It was set aside.  The dough was removed from its pop up container and each individual roll was balled up one by one and then rolled out on a board with some flour until they formed flat circles.  Each circle was filled with a spoon of the pear mixture and then topped with an additional piece of dough before the edges were crimped.  I baked them according to the directions on the container and then removed them, (guilty admission coming up)…used the super yummy frosting provided and sprinkled the top with some cinnamon sugar.  I won’t lie.  I didn’t care how bad they might be.  I didn’t care if they were processed just disguised as a real dessert.  I didn’t care if they had more white sugar in them than I should consume in one week.  I ate one and it was so good.  It was warm and sugary.  The pear center was absolutely delicious.  Sort of a cross between a cinnamon roll and a Hostess pie.  You know…those little moon shapes filled with apple or blueberry.  It was a splurge.  A super sweet sugar splurge.  I’m sure they could be made much healthier…but sometimes those flavors can connect us to so many great memories it is worth the consumption.

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