So, apple pie is great. We know this, and we confirmed it in Part 1 of this post. But after eating that pie, I developed a craving for something else, but also apple. But not pie! I wanted an Apple Not-Pie but with delicious, flaky, buttery crust! I wanted a Pie Not Born of Pie Dish!
Maybe I’ve been corrupted by the single-serving, one-off nature of American consumer culture, but there is something very compelling about the individualized pastry that is an apple turnover. One, you do not have to share it. It is a self-contained, complete “thing” that you can greedily consume wholesale. Indeed, in contrast a pie is a communal experience; your slice of a pie is by definition a less-than-whole. Even though a turnover is smaller, you still get to eat the whole thing. Sometimes that can be satisfying.
Two, an apple turnover is covered in pie crust. In fact, the only way to get to the gooey, delicious interior is by tearing through this crispy, buttery envelope. Thus it’s a bit of a different beast to eat it than with a pie; you can just get in there with your bare hands and savage the thing. In other words, the pie crust gets to share the spotlight with the filling moreso than in a traditional pie.
So if you plan on making turnovers, the crust had better be right!
We started with a basic pie crust recipe. Actually, we started with a recipe for a Rosemary Crust from a recipe for a Tomato-Goat Cheese Tart (from A Year In A Vegetarian Kitchen, by Jack Bishop). We (my girlfriend and I) had made the tomato tart during the summer, and the crust was amazing so we reused it for a mushroom tart. For the turnovers, we replaced the minced rosemary in the crust with cinnamon.
Ingredients in the pie crust:
- 8 tablespoons butter (Yes. Eight. Do it.)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon/apple-friendly spices
- about 4 tablespoons ice water
The easiest way to do this is with a food processor. Throw the flour, salt and cinnamon into the work bowl and give it a few pulses to combine it. Chop your butter up into little buttery cubes, and now throw them into the processor. Pulse it ten or so times until it looks crumbly. Add a tablespoon of the water and pulse for one second. Once you’ve done this four times, pulse it again for longer (3-4 seconds or so) and watch. Does it come together into a cohesive, doughy ball around the blades? If it does then you’re good to go! If not then keep it up with the water, one tablespoon at a time. You want to end up with a cohesive blob of dough. Don’t over-do it with the food processor, as that will hurt the dough’s ultimate flakiness. Carefully take it out of the food processor and knead it into a smooth ball, then flatten that ball into a disc about 5 inches in diameter. Wrap it in plastic and throw it in the fridge for an hour.
You can use your favorite apple turnover/pie recipe for a filling. There are a ton on Google, so there is bound to be something you like. This is the one we used. It’s from Spoonful.com, and we only used the “filling” part of it. Personally, I like the ones that incorporate some citrus (the linked one includes orange juice) to balance the sweetness of the other ingredients and retain some tartness in the apples.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees!
Once the dough is ready, you’ll need to prepare a reasonably-sized work surface by dusting it with flour. Then lop off a piece of dough and roll it out into a square/rectangular shape. The idea is that you will be able to put a few spoonfuls of filling in the center and fold it over to make a triangular pouch. You’ll have to judge how much dough to use based on how much filling you have. Keep some cold water on hand, as you can use that to help seal up your turnover seams. Pressing down along the edges with a fork will help too. Our recipe called for brushing them ever-so-lightly with milk, and then sprinkling some cinnamon-sugar on top. You should end up with something that looks like these bad boys:
You’ll notice that they are on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Do that too. Into the oven they go for 25-30 minutes! As usual, you’re looking for a nice golden-brown color.
And here they are: