Turnovers are often forgotten in the dessert world. Tarts and pies steal the show when it comes to articles, cookbook recipes, and blogs, but turnovers are just as sweet and delicious, and portable to boot. Like their bigger and more prevalent cousins, turnovers are simply cooked fruit encased in buttery pastry dough. Yet unlike the tart and pie, you don’t need to slice them, set them on a plate, or make a presentation out of serving them. Sure you could plop some ice cream or whipped cream next to one and set a mint leaf on it, but you could just as easily wrap it in a napkin and stick it in your pocket for later. This is why turnovers (both the savory and sweet variety) are also referred to as pocket pies.
Portability makes turnovers the perfect dessert for a variety of occasions. They're a great choice for parties where people will be milling about instead of sitting down. They're also ideal for putting in kids' lunches, packing for picnics, or taking on car or airline trips. But you don't need an occasion to make turnovers; they're great any time.
Turnovers are incomparably delicious when made with homemade puff pastry, but very few of us have the time or inclination to make puff pastry from scratch. Although you can create a nice turnover with homemade pie crust, I prefer puff pastry's flaky texture for the finished product and so I opt for frozen store-bought sheets. If you have time to make your own puff pastry or know of a shop where you can buy it, you'll be in for an extravagant indulgence when you bite into your luscious turnover. But if you're like me and usually have only the frozen stuff available, you will still reap the rewards of a buttery and fruity treat.
To make fruit turnovers, simply create a bowlful of whatever pie filling you like most. I am partial to apple and cherry turnovers, but blueberries, pecans, and pureed pumpkin are also great fillings. Anything you would stick into a baked pie or tart will work. You then scoop the filling into cut pieces of puff pastry, seal and bake. That's it.
There's no reason dessert has to be a plated affair. So the next time you're taking a road trip, want to put something extra special in your child's lunch, or you're simply in the mood for a sweet pocket pie, make some very easy and delicious turnovers.
A few tips to making turnovers:
1. You can cut your dough into circles or squares to make either half moon or triangle turnovers.
2. Overstuffing the dough will make the turnovers pop open and the juices will all ooze out, so be careful to leave room for crimping the edges of the dough.
3. If your dough is dry, you may want to seal the edges with an egg wash.
4. If you want your turnovers to be glossy, brush with an egg wash before baking.
5. Sprinkling sugar on the outside gives the turnovers a sweet crispness.
6. To perk up cold turnovers, simply warm them in a heated oven for about five minutes. This will recrisp the outside and warm the fruit filling.
Makes: 9 turnovers
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 cups diced apples cut into 1/4-inch squares (you can use Granny Smith, Fuji, Golden Delicious or any other firm apple)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg scrambled
2 Tbsp white sugar
1. Bring puff pastry to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Cut up apples and place in a bowl with the lemon juice so they don't become brown.
4. Combine apples with sugar, flour and cinnamon.
5. Roll out pastry dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12- by 12-inch square and then cut it into 9 equal pieces.
6. Scoop apple mixture onto the lower half of each square, being sure not to overfill.
7. Turn the upper half of the dough over the apple mixture and pinch the ends. If the dough doesn't seal, you can lightly coat the edges with an egg wash and then press them down.
8. Lay the filled dough onto a baking sheet and coat each turnover with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
9. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 12 - 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
10. Serve immediately or store for later use.