Prepare Basic Pastry Dough as directed. Cover 2 portions and set aside. Lightly grease an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Set baking dish aside.
In a small bowl stir together the pecans, brown sugar, orange or lemon peel, and cinnamon. Set aside. Peel pears. Core the pears from the bottom, leaving the stems in place. Press half of the nut mixture into the center of each pear. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of pastry dough into a 7- to 8-inch square. Place a pear in the center of each square. Moisten the edges of the pastry with water. Bring the pastry up around the pear, pleating and pressing to seal around the stem. Roll the pastry back slightly to expose the stem. Place the wrapped pears in the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl stir together the egg white and water. Brush egg white mixture over the wrapped pears. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in a 375 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until the pears are tender and pastry is golden. Cover pears loosely with foil the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Serve warm. If desired, serve with half-and-half or light cream. Makes 2 dumplings.
Basic Pastry Dough
In a medium mixing bowl stir together all-purpose flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the mixture, then gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all dough is moistened. Divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and flatten slightly. Use 2 of the portions for Country-Style pear Dumplings. (To store the remaining 2 portions of dough, seal portions of dough in moisture- and vapor-proof wrap, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. To use, let dough stand at room temperature about 1 hour or until thawed. Continue as directed in individual recipes.)