Friday, November 7, 2008

Apple Turnovers

In the beginning there was really annoying puff pastry to be rolled.

Let me preface this post by saying: This dessert is a pain in the arse. But man ... as much as I griped at the time I was making this, I was stunned when these babies came out of the oven.

I found this recipe on a blog and that particular domestic goddess adapted this recipe from the mother of domestic goddesses: Ina Garten a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa. Ms. Garten is not my favorite Food Network celebrity, but if I ever had the chance to meet her, I'm sure I'd make an embarrassment of myself because she is that awesome.

One of the particular things that I like about Garten's approach to cooking is that she's not afraid to use a shortcut. In this case, her shortcut is using puff pastry for the turnover. Another disclaimer: Puff pastry is kind of spendy, in my humble opinion. The stuff I got at the market was $4.50 for two sheets which translated into 8 turnovers. And while I was taken aback at first, I can say now that I'm probably going to use puff pastry in the future, even if it won't become a staple in my pantry.

Apple Turnovers

From Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa” (Food Network)

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/4 pounds tart apples, such as Empire or Granny Smith (3 apples)
  • 3 tablespoons dried cherries (I made do with Craisins)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces, 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the orange zest and orange juice in a bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples and then cut them in 3/4-inch dice. Immediately toss the apples with the zest and juice to prevent them from turning brown. Add the cherries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Flour a board and lightly roll each sheet of puff pastry to a 12 by 12-inch square. Cut each sheet into 4 smaller squares and keep chilled until ready to use.

Brush the edges of each square with the egg wash and neatly place about 1/3 cup of the apple mixture on half of the square. Fold the pastry diagonally over the apple mixture and seal by pressing the edges with a fork. Transfer to a sheet pan. Make 2 small slits, and bake for 20 minutes, until browned and puffed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: I've been reading a lot of The Pioneer Woman lately and she's been using a lot of whiskey in her cooking lately ... the orange juice and the zest really add to this, but I'm curious what it would taste like if I used whiskey instead of OJ. Hmm ... Another thought - what about walnuts or pecans in this dish? I think that would also be delightful.

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