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Sweet and savory turnover recipes

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Sweet or savory portable treats

I have to say that pie is one of my favorite foods ever. It doesn't really matter what kind, as long as it's pie. Thing is, pie isn't always practical. Pies tend to be multi-serving when you only want enough for one, you need a plate and a fork, and so on. But that's where turnovers come in. Here are some turnover recipes for when you are craving a sweet or savory pie-like treat.

Apple Turnover

Turnovers are a treat - savory or sweet

Turnovers are basically single serving pie pockets - incredibly portable and tasty filled pastry crusts. You can make them sweet or savory, for every meal, and for almost every part of a meal. Turnovers are equally tasty as appetizers, desserts or even breakfast.

Turovers have many mouthwatering variations

Every ethnic cuisine has a turnover of some kind or another. Think calzones, empanadas, knishes, Jamaican sausage patties, and samosas. While recipe specifics vary of course, the concept and preparation is the same. You basically make the dough and roll or press it into an appropriate shape, add a filling, seal the dough, and cook. Turnovers can be baked, for a healthier meal, or deep fried, for a more indulgent one. You can even freeze the prepared turnovers for quick meals and snacks.

Fill your turnovers with creative combinations

With a few basic recipes under your belt, you can easily get creative with fillings. For savory turnovers, I like sauteed mushrooms and goat cheese, while strawberry rhubarb and pear ginger are my favorite sweet fillings. Just about any filling you might use for a real pie will work for turnovers. Okay, maybe not a meringue pie filling, but most others.

The crust matters

For doughs, match your dough to the type of filling. Savory turnovers do better with a standard crust - or a standard crust with herbal additions (chopped fresh rosemary, for example). Sweet turnovers pair nicely with a slightly sweeter dough, or one with subtle flavor additions, such as grated lemon peel. If you don't want to make your own dough, you can always use store-bought puff pastry.

Keep your fillings on the drier side

For fillings, while most any pie filling recipe will do (sweet or savory), you do want to take care not to have filling that is too "wet." If you have sauteed some veggies or ground beef, drain them before using them in a filling. For fruits, perhaps don't let the fruit macerate in sugar for too long.

Turnover recipes

Basic Turnover Recipe

Makes 8 turnovers

Ingredients:
1 recipe pastry dough
Filling
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
Kosher salt or raw sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into 8 evenly-sized squares.

2. Divide the filling among the pastry squares, leaving a 3/4-inch border of pastry all around. Using a pastry brush, brush egg around the edge of the pastry dough. Carefully fold the pastry in half on the diagonal, creating a triangle, and being careful to press out extra air gently. Press the edges of the dough together to seal them. With the tip of a knife, cut two small steam vents in the top of the turnovers.

3. Brush the top of the turnovers with milk, then sprinkle on a little kosher salt or sugar, depending on whether the turnover is sweet or savory. Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Cool about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. (Dust sweet turnovers with powdered sugar, if desired.)

Basic Pastry Dough

Makes enough for a double pie crust or 8 turnovers

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
13-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
4-1/2 tablespoons ice water

Directions:
1. Combine the flour and salt. In a food processor or using a pastry cutter, sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and pulse a few times with the food processor, or cut butter into the flour with the pastry cutter.

2. When the butter is fully incorporated and the mixture looks like a coarse meal, drizzle water into the food processor while it is running, or sprinkle the water over the flour and mix until the dough comes together.

3. Knead together just a couple times until the dough holds together, pat it into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: For an extra bit of flavor, add savory additions to the dough, such as chopped fresh herbs, finely grated hard cheese, a little curry powder or a dash of your favorite spices.

Basic sweet pastry dough

Makes enough for a double pie crust or 8 turnovers

Ingredients:
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
18 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons ice water

Directions:
1. Combine the flour and sugar. In a food processor or using a pastry cutter, sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and pulse a few times with the food processor, or cut butter into the flour with the pastry cutter.

2. When the butter is fully incorporated and the mixture looks like a coarse meal, drizzle water into the food processor while it is running, or sprinkle the water over the flour and mix until the dough comes together.

3. Knead together just a couple times until the dough holds together, pat it into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: You can also add a bit of grated citrus peel, chopped lavendar or basil to the dough, taking care that the extra flavoring pairs well with the turnover filling.

Basic Fresh Fruit Filling for Turnovers

Makes enough for 8 turnovers

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups fresh fruit, such as apples, pears, or peaches, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar (adjust the sugar down if the fruit is very juicy)
Spices or other flavorings, such as cinnamon, ginger, grated citrus peel, chopped dried fruits, or extracts

Directions:
Combine the fruit with the sugar and other flavorings, if using. Let macerate for about 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Other ideas for fillings

There is no limit on the sweet or savory combinations you can use to fill turnovers. Here are just a few of my favorite combinations:
  • Jams and preserves
  • Sauteed leeks, mushrooms and chevre
  • Cooked, chopped lobster and brie
  • Cooked ground lamb (drained) and curry powder
  • Barbecued pork
  • Roasted veggies and just about any cheese
  • Steamed spinach and feta cheese (essentially, spanikopita)
  • Ham and gruyere
  • Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil

Love turnovers? Here are a few more turnover recipes to try


Stromboli: Pizza turnovers
Empanadas recipes

 

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