Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLEChestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLEChestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLETwo years ago today I started this blog. I told myself that I’d give it a try and if after a year I felt like it wasn’t right I’d try something else. But here I am, two years later, still loving almost every aspect of this work. I love the creativity, the solitude and the idea of impacting the way people think about food. Things I don’t love so much: hustling for work, writing contracts, and doing payroll. But, it’s worth dealing with these aspects of the job in order to feel like I’m making the world a better place, one post at a time.

So in honor of my blog-versary and in the spirit of changing the world through food I’ve finally compiled a list of links  from the sustainable foods conference I attended in September. It’s a list of articles, projects and information that I found particularly inspiring and that changed the way I think about food and the choices I make each day. Because, as Jane Goodall said, the small choices we make each day can lead to the kind of world we all want for the future.

Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLEChestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLEChestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLE

  1. In 2014, University of California launched its Global Food Initiative, a campaign designed to identify and test best practices across UC campuses that can serve as examples for other schools and communities and to foster research and policy that will shape a sustainable foods future. If I could go back to school, I’d apply for a GFI fellowship!
  2. Sean Sherman is opening a restaurant that will focus on revitalizing Native American indigenous food traditions. He’s using native, wild ingredients and creating jobs for his community. And most of his food in inherently vegan! This is the beginning of a new hyper local, sustainable food movement…
  3. Louie Psihoyos, the guy behind The Cove and Racing Extinction, is making a new film about elite vegan athletes called The Game Changers. I can’t wait to see it! His goal is to create a tipping point and change the world by convincing people to give up meat and he’s off to a good start with his previous films and the hashtag #startwith1thing.
  4. Think about this the next time you think about buying or eating shrimp!
  5. These short films are beautiful and inspiring…What would the soil say if it could speak?
  6. By 2050 global demand for animal protein will go up 80-100% with devastating impacts on our planet. Instead of trying to develop new systems of production or create alternatives that taste like meat (but not really) why not just eat more vegetables? I’m liking the phrase, “plant forward” more and more.
  7. A study by food ethnographer June Jo Lee found that only 17% of people want to know where their food comes from. Let’s change that!

I hope you found something interesting or inspiring here today  and that you’ll start a conversation with your friends and loved ones, ideally while eating warm Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies.


Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies

Makes 16 3-inch round hand pies



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup + 2 tablespoons chestnut flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup + 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup cold water

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup coconut sugar


1 cinnamon stick

2 inches fresh ginger, chopped

10 cloves

1 tablespoon cardamom pods

10 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped

1/4 cup coconut sugar

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons bourbon

2 tablespoons water

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder



Add the flour, chestnut flour and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Sprinkle the pieces of butter over the flour and rub the mixture between your fingers, breaking the butter into small flakes. Add the cold water and continue mixing with your hands until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into two balls and shape each ball into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.


Cut a large square of cheesecloth  and place the spices in the center. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together to form a bundle.

Combine the pears, coconut sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, bourbon, water, salt and turmeric in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the bundle of spices and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved, the pears have softened and the juices have reduced slightly, 20-30 minutes.

Remove the bundle of spices and discard. Allow the filling to cool to room temperature before using.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, cut out circles of dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining disc of dough.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling on each circle of dough, cover with another circle of dough and seal the edges together by pressing firmly with the tines of a fork. Using a sharp paring knife, make a small cross in the top of each pie.

Brush the tops of the hand pies with milk and sprinkle generously with coconut sugar.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.