Thursday, 12 September 2013

Apple and Cinnamon Turnovers

It is time for the Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge again and this month's ingredients were apple and cinnamon!

I decided I wanted to try something a bit different this time around.  I've used apples and cinnamon plenty of times before in cakes so I didn't really want to go that route.  This is meant to be a challenge after all.  So I decided to raid my books and see what I could find.

I admit, the first thing that did come to mind was apple strudel.  I knew the fiancé loved strudel and I've not made it before due to not really doing much with pastry in the past.  I even went and looked up how to do it, including how to do the pastry from scratch.  However it is rather complicated.  Strudel pastry is apparently very tricky to make and few people do it.  I saw them doing it on the Great British Bake Off last year and all that stretching looks scary!  Really, I just wouldn't have time, especially with this post-grad course and the fact that I already have an assignment to do which is due in next week.  So strudel was out but I was now determined to do something with pastry.  I needed to do something out of my comfort zone and working with pastry would definitely be that.  If I ever want a chance of getting on the GBBO, then I'll need to be able to bake all types of pastry.  It is probably the most used thing on that show.  It took some trawling, but I eventually stumbled on apple and cinnamon turnovers in the lovely baking book the fiancé had got me for Christmas but that I have so far not used.  

The turnovers themselves looked to be quite a simple recipe.  The challenge came from the pastry because I decided I was going to make my own.  This was my first attempt ever to make puff pastry!  Well, actually, it ended up being my first AND second.  My first try failed pretty quickly.  I brought it out of the fridge after its first resting period and went about rolling it into a rectangle, only to have all my butter start oozing out from every inch possible.  It just kept coming and coming and I ended up with a mush of butter and pastry.  Not good.  But at least it happened early and not an hour down the line.  So I started again.  I used butter straight from the fridge this time, rather than letting it soften first, and made sure it was really well sealed in its pastry envelope.  When it came to rolling out, there was still a little that managed to escape but it was nowhere near the amount of the first try.  After it had had a few rests and re-rolls it was less trouble.  I was quite pleased.

The book I was using was great.  It explains things rather neatly and all the recipes are quite short and to the point.  However, in the list of ingredients for the turnovers it said '3 apples'.  Just '3 apples'.  There was no indication as to size, weight or type.  So I guessed.  I got Bramley apples, since they are the standard cooking apple over here.  I also decided to just get 2 since they are rather big.  Turns out even that was way too much.  I only used about half the apple filling that I made.  Hence I'll be adjusting the ingredients in the write up.  I made sure to measure how much apple there was before and after making up the pastries, so you'll get a weight.

I cooked my turnovers in two batches.  The first batch I made came out really well.  The filling did leak slightly and the egg wash was a little patchy but overall I was happy.  There were no soggy bottoms!  Pretty good for a first attempt at puff pastry.  It's such a shame I burnt the second batch.  This is evidence that I should not multi-task.  Or at least, not do so in a room that isn't the kitchen or adjoining living room.  I have a tendency to forget about things if I leave the room.  I thought I was being productive when I decided to put away all the laundry and change the bed linen whilst the turnovers cooked.  But I forgot about them and lost track of time.  When I went back into the living room, I noted it was hot.  I then walked into the kitchen to open the window, wondered why the oven was on and then realised!  The poor things had been in half an hour longer than they should have been and were ruined.  I was so disappointed.  I cannot wait for my new oven timer to arrive.  Then even if I do forget by going out the room I'll still get a noisy reminder.

The ones that didn't burn apparently tasted yummy though.  The fiancé did think the pastry was a little thick but also said they tasted very like the strudels he would get at the market in Edinburgh at Christmas.  The cinnamon went really nicely with the apples and there were layers in my pastry!  I'll have to find time to make them again in the future, and not burn half the batch next time. 

Recipe - adapted from The Art of French Baking 
Makes 6 pastries

Puff Pastry:
This takes 2-3 hours to do since you have to roll out, fold and rest the pastry several times in order to get the layers in.
  • 200g/7oz plan flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100ml/3.5fl.oz ice-cold water
  • 100g/3.5fl.oz butter
  1. Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the salt.
  2. Add most of the water and mix in until you get a smooth and elastic dough.  Add more water if necessary.
  3. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out the dough into a square that is about 1.5cm/0.75inch thick.
  4. Cut the butter into cubes and place into the centre of the pastry square.
  5. Fold the corners over into the centre so the butter is completely enclosed within a pastry envelope.  Make sure there are no gaps.
  6. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the fridge and roll out into a long rectangle that is 5mm/0.25inch thick.  Try not to let any butter escape from inside (don't panic if a little comes out though).
  8. Fold the short ends of the rectangle so they overlap each other in the centre to make a rectangle with three layers.  Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 at least seven more times.  You can do it more times if you want.  The more times you repeat the steps, the more layers your pastry should have.
  10. Now the pastry is done so chill it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
Apple and Cinnamon Turnovers:
  • 170g/6oz apple (about 1 large Bramley apple)
  • 60g/2oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 400g/14oz puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • Water
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7 and grease two baking trays with butter.
  2. Peel and core the apple and then cut it into 1cm/0.5inch cubes.  Put in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the caster sugar to the apple and stir to coat them.
  4. Lightly dust a surface with flour and roll out the puff pastry as thinly as possible.  Ideally you want to be able to cut all your turnovers from this one sheet and not have to re-roll (though I didn't quite manage it).
  5. Use a 12cm/5inch circle cookie cutter, or trace around a bowl with a similar diameter, and cut out six circles of pastry.  If you want, you can also cut small, decorative shapes out of the leftovers (I made a heart for each one).
  6. Place a heaped tablespoon of the spiced apple on top of each circle, ever so slightly off centre.
  7. Moisten the edges of the pastry with water, fold in half to make a crescent shape and press the edges together to seal them.  If it tears in places, patch the gaps with leftover pastry.  If you made decorations then attach them to the crescents with water.  Place the pastries on the trays.
  8. Beat the egg yolk and then brush the pastries with it to glaze them.
  9. Sprinkle over the remaining sugar.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes.


  1. Wow. Good for you for trying something out of your comfort zone. I find I shouldn't multi-task while cooking/baking!
    They look delicious.

  2. Wow is right. I don't know if I would ever attempt such a fete. I do love me a good turnover though.

  3. Multitasking while baking always ends badly for me as well! Have you seen the website Joe Pastry, he has amazing step by step tutorials on tons of delicious recipes. I almost made apple strudel a few months ago but decided it wasn't a task for someone with two small kids at home. Love turnovers!

  4. Becca your turnovers look so light and flaky!

  5. What a great recipe! It looks amazing!

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