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Wasting food is one of our top pet peeves. That's why we asked chef and cookbook author Sara Moulton to share three things to do with an everyday staple that always seems to go bad sooner than we expect: bread. These pear and lemon turnovers are a genius way to use up extra sliced white sandwich bread and they couldn't be easier! 

"As I've confessed many a time, I count myself among the legions of the pastry impaired. That doesn't mean I don't love pastry; it just means I struggle to make it. Anyway, whenever pastry is called for, I start looking for an easy-to-use stand-in. One of my favorites is plain old white bread. Not the kind that's better wadded up and hurled at a likely target in a food fight than actually eaten. I'm talking about 'homemade-style' white bread that boasts enough integrity to be rolled out, like pastry, into a square. 
My less-than-noble motives aside, bread and fruit go together nearly as happily as pastry and fruit; think of every fruit-filled bread pudding you've ever enjoyed. These 'turnovers' are made with baked pears. (Baking intensifies a pear's flavor.) If you want to fancy them up a little, you can complement the filling with some almond paste or a few dried cherries or cranberries." —Sara 

For more creative and delicious ideas that are the best thing since, well, sliced bread, check out Sara's Mushroom Rolls and Spring Soup with Bread Dumplings


  • 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for brushing the baking sheet
  • 1 firm ripe Bartlett pear
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 12 slices homemade-style white bread, preferably thin sliced


Serves: Makes 12 turnovers, serving 4 to 6


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter and set aside. 

Peel, core, and finely chop the pear. Toss it with the lemon juice, zest and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. 

Trim off and discard the crusts from the bread, reserving them for another use such as breadcrumbs. Roll out the slices until they are very thin. Keep the slices covered with plastic wrap while you are rolling out the remaining slices so they don't dry out. 

Place a mound of the filling onto one side of the bread near a corner. Moisten the edges of the bread squares with water. Matching two opposite points, fold half of each bread slice over to enclose the pear slices and make a triangle; firmly press the edges together. Note: You will have extra filling which you can eat straight up or stir into yogurt for a snack. 

Arrange the turnovers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush them well on both sides with the melted butter, and sprinkle them liberally with the remaining sugar. Make a slit at the top of each turnover with a paring knife and bake them in the top third of the oven about 12-15 minutes, turning them once, until they are golden and the pear is tender. 

Adapted from Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners by Sara Moulton. Copyright © 2010 by Simon & Schuster. Used with permission by Sara Moulton. All rights reserved.