Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Apple Dried Cherry Turnovers

Before I delve whole-heartedly into this flaky and buttery post, let me just reiterate how much I love baking. Yes, it can be frustrating from time to time when things don't work out, but I think I enjoy it so much because the end result is just so damn satisfying. I mean, fruit, pastry, sugar, Ina would say, what could be better than that?

As I said in the last post, I'm getting in the habit of getting all my ingredients together before I start any cooking, so here they are:

cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, dried cherries, apples, 
orange zest and juice, sugar, flour, puff pastry

Unlike the French Apple Tart, in which puff pastry serves as a backup, this recipe calls for it exclusively. Personally, I think puff pastry is delicious on its own; layers of flaky pastry filled with butter...mmmm, but with some added ingredients it can really be amazing. Plus, it's already made for you so it's one less step. Since puff pastry is frozen, the night before I made this recipe, I put it in the refrigerator to defrost slowly, and left it there until I was ready to use it.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and juiced and zested the orange:

I again chose to use Granny Smith apples for this recipe, since they're my favorite tart apple to use when baking. Ina suggests alternatively using Macoun or Winesaps, so maybe I would try those in the future. I peeled the apples and diced them, and then added them quickly to the orange juice so they wouldn't brown:

I then added the dried cherries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt:

Those little black things that look like raisins are the dried cherries, 
which in reality, are more of a deep red

Flour is used in many fruit desserts as a thickening agent, instead of cornstarch. It reacts with the natural juices in the fruit and thickens during the cooking process. I like this since I think adding cornstarch is sort of cheating.

Now it was time for the puff pastry. I floured the counter (after disinfecting it thoroughly) and removed one sheet of puff pastry from the fridge. Here is what it looked like right out of the package:

I rolled out this sheet until it was approximately a 12x12 square:

Please note the tape measure

and then cut this large square into 4 smaller (6x6 inch) squares. I put the squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put them into the fridge while I repeated the entire process for the second sheet of puff pastry. (To see what that looked like, scroll up a little and re-visit the pictures above.)

Once all the puff pastry had been cut into 8 individual squares, I started adding a little filling to each one. I "brushed" the edges of each square with egg wash and added about 1/4-1/3 cup of filling to the center, trying to include a good ratio of apple to cherry. I use the term "brushed" loosely since I didn't have a pastry brush and was really just using a spoon. Here's a filled square:

I folded the pastry diagonally over the apple mixture and sealed the edges by pressing them together with the tines of a fork. It was a bit of a challenge to stretch the pastry over the filling and then get all the edges to line up evenly, but I managed pretty well, stuffing any rogue apples back into the pastry. Once I had 4 completed, I put them all on a parchment-lined baking sheet:

'brushed" the tops with egg wash (quite a challenge using just a spoon), sprinkled them with sugar, and cut two small slits in the top of each:

and finally, I put them into the oven. While these began to bake, I finished the final four. (Again, for pictures of this process, scroll up...and then down again). I had a bit of filling left over, probably enough to have filled at least 2 more turnovers. I didn't really have a good measuring cup to use in order to make sure each turnover had the same, correct amount of filling, so I just estimated instead. It's likely that I wasn't filling them completely, but I really didn't see how I could fit any more apple inside, while still able to close and seal the turnover completely.

Once the second batch was ready, I put them into the oven as well and waited. After about 20 minutes, the first batch was puffed, golden brown, and ready to come out of the oven:

YUUUMMM. If only you could smell these

And a few minutes later, the second batch was done too:

Now, let me just say, these were so good, Dan and I ate half of them the day I baked them. We initially ate them while still warm from the oven, which was definitely the way to go. Once they had cooled though, I actually found that popping one in the toaster oven to bake for just a couple of minutes warmed it up to the perfect temperature. The pastry was so buttery and dense, but also flaky and sweet, and the cherry-apple mixture was just tart enough to give a nice contrast to the sweet pastry. These were great as a dessert, but I also found myself wanting to eat them for breakfast since they weren't overly sweet or filling, and were kind of similar to an apple danish. Plus, they were just really, really good.

I'm not sure if the cherries really added anything substantial, but they also didn't detract from the apples. Next time, I would probably consider them optional. I also would have liked a little more filling in each, or would have preferred that the filling was more evenly distributed within the turnovers. But considering that I had a hard time closing them as it was, I don't know how I would have fit any more of the filling inside each turnover. Perhaps I just have to trust the elasticity of the dough next time, and yes, there will be a next time. 

Make this when: ever you feel like it. Ok, maybe not whenever, but these are very versatile. You could make them for a nice brunch, or for dessert after a casual dinner of comfort food at home, eaten in your pajamas. They would also be good to make when you're expecting house guests since they make the whole house smell like apple pie and could be a good afternoon snack.

Next Course: Bay Scallop Gratins


  1. Mmmm in lieu of studying for the MPRE which is on Sat. I may make these instead :) They look and sound very yummy!

  2. I followed your instructions and made turnovers. They were a big hit! And easy to make!! I stuffed them a little more as you said to and they turn out great. Good apple/cherry to pastry ratio. They leaked a little because they were so stuffed. So after an ill reasoned attempt to put them on paper towel to dry them off...i put them on a plate and they hardened up so you could pick them up! When heated they were super yummy. My boyfriend even said, "I can't believe you made these from scratch." haha which i take as a compliment. Can't wait for the next recipe!

  3. Sorry to post again...but I just wanted to say that the turnovers are just as good the second day! Both my roommate and my boyfriend loved them and ate them again the next day and re-iterated that they were very impressed with my cooking skills!

  4. Ok, Ok, Ok, already my mouth is watering.

  5. I am so glad that you came clean and admitted to having these for breakfast in lieu of those 100 calorie English Muffins. Difficult decision I am sure????
    They look fabulous and perfect for a T-giving day breakfast. So, you are thinking aren't I already making the entire T-giving dinner and now Mom wants me to make these too..and your point is?
    I even have the the puff pastry in the freezer from the last time you were home.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...