Now that schools are back in session and the calendar page has turned to September - or is halfway through September! - a little craving for apple desserts starts to set in. Luckily, this week for Tuesdays With Dorie (an online group of a couple hundred individual bakers around the globe get together virtually and bake one recipe a week from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours) Julie of Someone’s in the Kitchen picked Flaky Apple Turnovers. You can find the recipe on pages 316 and 317 or on Julie's turnover post.
I've made apple turnovers before, back when I was in another baking group, Sweet Melissa Sundays. That recipe was based on purchased puff pastry (although homemade puff pastry would have been a delicious, if time-consuming alternative). Dorie's recipe, on the other hand, promised a flaky crust (it's in the recipe title, see?) from a fairly simple handmade pastry dough that had lots of butter and sour cream. I was interested to work with this dough, as it seems like a versatile and useful pastry to have in the baking repertoire.
- I made 1/4 recipe, which was easy to scale.
- The dough is fairly quick to put together. Everything is done by hand. Dorie gives a couple of alternative methods for working the flour and butter together. I grew up using a pastry blender and also two knives when making crust, but I'd never tried rubbing butter into the flour using just the fingers.
- I wanted my butter to be as cold as possible (as that is so often the key to flaky pastry) so I put it in the freezer while I was measuring out all of the other ingredients. By the time I went to cut in the butter into the flour, it was too cold for my pastry blender to make much headway. I decided to try the finger-rubbing method and it worked beautifully.
- When I tossed the sour cream into the dough, it pulled together beautifully. I was a little worried that my dough might be too wet, but it rolled well - as long as it stayed cold!
- This was my first time turning and folding pastry dough (although I've done it with bread dough). Dorie's instructions are so clear that it was easily accomplished.
- I was tempted by Dorie's suggested filling variations, but decided to stick with classic apple for the first time I made the recipe. I added a pinch of salt and a grating of nutmeg to the cinnamon, sugar and apple filling. Since there was a ton of butter in the pastry I skipped the dots of butter in the filling.
- When it came time to roll and form the turnovers, instead of cutting rounds, as the recipe specified, I decided to cut squares. That way I could use all of the rectangle that I rolled, with no leftover scrap pieces. I was able to form 6 turnovers - triangular in shape. I used a serving fork to make wide crimps in the edges of the turnovers and to prick holes in the tops. Although the recipe calls for a sprinkling of sugar on top, I used only the egg wash because my husband (the apple dessert lover) prefers no sugar crust.
- 4 turnovers went directly into my freezer; when the apple dessert mood strikes I can pull them out and bake them frozen.
- My turnovers needed nearly 30 minutes to bake to a golden color, rather than the 20 that the recipe prescribes. They puffed a bit and looked like little golden pillows. And the crust? Nice and flaky!
The dreaded "indoor light shot" - not a great picture but it does show the flakiness of the crustthe verdict:
These were nice turnovers. I thought the apple flavor was a little mild; next time I'll amp up the spices. I'd also like to try the turnovers with dried fruit, nuts and/or jam, as Dorie suggests. The pastry was crisp and flaky, and I think it would also be good (without the sugar) as a basis for savory turnovers - mmm, spinach and cheese!
My husband, the apple-dessert lover , thought the turnovers were good, almost-great, but for him they were a bit overshadowed by the homemade vanilla ice cream that I served alongside.
Thanks, Julie, for choosing such a fun seasonal recipe for us to bake this week!