Last year one of the reasons that I never got around to making turnovers (before giving birth 6 weeks early) was the daunting task of making puff pastry.
Can you make turnovers without making your puff pastry from scratch? Certainly. But for my self-imposed Relishments Bakes challenges, I like to do as much from scratch and in the traditional way as possible. So, if I was going to make turnovers, I was going to make the puff pastry too.
It actually didn’t turn out to be as difficult as I’d expected. I followed a recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Bake Everything [affiliate link] which starts by putting the flour, salt, butter and water into a food processor. The process of laminating the dough was surprisingly smoother than anticipated, especially having watched the process on cooking shows many times. I was nervous about the structure of my initial slab of butter and whether I’d be able to incorporate it into the dough, but once I’d rolled the butter into the dough the first time without issues, I stopped worrying. I repeated the rolling out, folding and refrigerating 3 times before considering my puff pasty done. Ultimately, the layers looked great. The completed dough sat in the fridge for a few days before I did anything with it.
For the filling, I utilized some of our recently picked local apples. The Mark Bittman apple turnover recipe instructed me to grate the apples and mix them with spices. This resulted in a mixture that was very, very wet.
When it came time to cut, fill and fold the turnovers, I had mixed success. The dough rolled out pretty well, but I wasn’t able to get as large a sheet as the instructions called for. After I cut and folded the pastries, it was evident that some areas of the dough were still too thick.
When I added the filling, it was so wet that it made it nearly impossible to seal the turnovers. I also had a fair amount of leftover filling. I decided not to worry about it and baked the turnovers with gaps on the sides.
As a result, there was a decent amount of burnt sugar (and corresponding smoke) when I removed the turnovers from the oven at the end of their baking time. But the turnovers themselves looked great.
They also tasted great. I was really pleased with how great all of the layers looked and tasted – my puff pastry totally exceeded my expectations. The filling wasn’t exceptional, but it certainly tasted good.
I’m not sure I’m in a rush to make more turnovers, but I’m so glad that I got over my fear of puff pastry. The recipe from How to Bake Everything resulted in 2 and a half pounds of dough and I only used one pound, so I’ll be looking for other ways to use what I have stored in the freezer. I will definitely be making my own puff pastry again and hopefully creating more filled pastries.
October’s challenge is coming soon!