Spinach and pear turnovers with parmesan sauce

Who would have thought that these two ingredients would work together? Well, they do, so get cracking and show your guests how it's done.


Serves 4

280g puff pastry
2 very ripe pears
Juice of 1 lemon
100g caster sugar
50g butter
250g small spinach leaves, washed and stalks removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
30g pine nuts, lightly toasted
Eggwash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk)
2 tbsp dried fennel seeds
150ml béchamel sauce
75ml double cream
75g Parmesan, freshly grated

• Peel, quarter and core the pears, then place in a small saucepan. Add the lemon juice, sugar and water to cover and poach gently for 15–20 minutes.
• Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan, add the spinach and cook for two minutes, then drain. Tip into a bowl and season.
• Drain the pears, slice thinly and add to the spinach with the pine nuts. Mix delicately and leave to cool.
• Cut the pastry into four equal pieces. Roll each one out to a round, 3mm thick, and trim to a neat disc using a 14cm cutter.
• Divide the pear and spinach mixture among the discs, piling it on the half closest to you and leaving a 1.5cm margin at the edge. Brush this edge with eggwash, then fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to make a turnover and lightly press the edges together. Place on a baking sheet and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
• When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the turnovers with eggwash and lightly score the outer edge. Sprinkle the turnovers with fennel seeds and bake in the oven for five minutes. Lower the oven setting to 180°C and bake for another 15 minutes.
• Place the cooked turnovers on a wire rack. Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the béchamel. As it starts to bubble, add the cream and simmer gently, stirring with a whisk, for two to three minutes. Add half the Parmesan and season. To serve, place a turnover on each plate. Pour the sauce around and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan. Serve at once, as a lunch or light supper with a side salad. Delicious with a lightly dressed salad of red chicory and cooked beetroot.

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