Apple Turnovers

This week’s baking experiment involved lots of apple turnovers! I ended up making two batches, the first of which was a little disappointing. After some minor modifications, the second  batch turned out much better!

For both recipes, I used store bought puff pastry. (I wasn’t quite ready to try making it from scratch.) However, I ended up buying a new brand that I hadn’t tried before, and the sheets were quite a bit larger than what I usually buy. The volume of apple filing in this recipe works well for this amount of pastry, but depending on what size pastry sheets you can find, you may end up with slightly more or less apple turnovers.

Don’t stress about it either way. If you end up with extra filling, throw it on top of some vanilla ice cream. If you end up with extra pastry, make some cinnamon sugar palmiers. Problem solved!

apples and a lemon on the kitchen counter

Peel and chop 4 large, tart apples (I used granny smith) into fairly small chunks. I cut them too big on the first go, and they were hard to fit into the pastry.

Combine the apples in a large frying pan with some brown sugar, white sugar, butter, cinnamon, ginger, lemon juice and cornstarch. The ginger adds a warm, subtle kick, while the lemon helps bring out the flavour of the apples. I didn’t include either in the first batch, and I found the filling to be a little bland. The lemon and ginger added the flavour I felt was missing.

apple filling ingredients in a frying pan, ready to be cooked

Cook the apples over medium-high heat until the apples are slightly tender, and the juices from the apple combine with the sugar and butter to take on a slightly thickened caramel consistency.

cooked apples with sugar and spices, cooling in the frying pan

Set the apple filling aside to cool slightly. It’ll be easier to work with once it’s cooled down, otherwise the heat of the apples will make the pastry quite soft and harder to shape. It’s okay if it’s still a little bit warm, you just don’t want it piping hot.

Meanwhile, stir together some cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. You’ll use this to sprinkle on top of the pastries before they go in the oven.

bowl of cinnamon & sugar mixed together

At this point you can pre-heat your oven to 400°F, and start prepping your pastry.

The pastry should be thawed, but still cold. I usually thaw mine in the fridge overnight before baking. If you try to unfold the pastry while it’s still frozen, you’re almost guaranteed to crack the dough. I’ve made this mistake many times. It’s better to just be patient and let it thaw rather than fight with it.

Lightly flour your work surface and lay down one of the puff pastry sheets. Use a rolling pin to gently roll the pastry out into a square (it’s usually more of a rectangle shape out of the box).  The goal is not to roll it super thin, you just want to shape it a bit more.

The puff pastry that I bought came in sheets that were 425g each. This gave me a square about 15 inches across. As I mentioned before, yours might end up a bit bigger or smaller. Don’t worry about it. Just work with what you’ve got!

rolled out sheet of puff pastry, rolled out into a square

Cut the pastry into 16 squares. From a 15 inch sheet, your squares should be about 3.75 inches across. I wouldn’t go much smaller than this, as the dough starts to get fiddly to work with.

For larger apple turnovers, you can cut the pastry into 9 squares (about 5 inches across). I tried them both ways when I made my first batch of these, and found I preferred them slightly smaller.

sheet of puff pastry, cut into 16 squares

Place the puff pastry squares onto a parchment lined baking tray. Make an egg wash by lightly beating 1 egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the tops of each of the squares with a thin layer of egg wash.

squares of puff pastry on a baking tray, brushed with egg wash

Place a spoonful of the apple filling into the centre of each square. I was worried about making sure I had enough filling for all of the apple turnovers, because I’m not the best at eyeballing how much filling to use in each.

One trick I found helpful was to roughly divide the filling into 4 piles before I started assembling the turnovers. That way I knew each pile had to fill 8 pastries, which was easier to mentally picture than spreading one pile across 32 pastries!

squares of puff pastry on a baking tray, with a spoonful of apple filling on top of each

Once you’ve got your filling in place, fold the pastry over the filling into a triangle shape. Use your finger, or the prongs of a fork, to crimp the edges of the pastry shut.

I looked at a number of recipes prior to making these that recommended cutting slits into the tops of the pastries before baking. I tried this with the first batch and accidentally forgot to cut one. I found that the one that I forgot to cut stayed sealed well, whereas the filling of the other ones oozed out of the cut. I opted not to cut any of them on the second batch and was much happier with the result.

apple turnovers, brushed with egg wash

After you’ve sealed your little pastry pockets, brush the tops with more egg wash and then give them a generous sprinkling of your cinnamon-sugar mixture. Don’t be stingy! The extra cinnamon adds a little more flavour to the pastry, and the sugar helps the surface get really crisp and golden brown.

apple turnovers, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar

Throw the pastries into the oven to bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes, until you see that really nice golden brown and crisp pastry. While the first batch is baking, repeat the above process with your second sheet of puff pastry.

Fresh baked apple turnovers, cooling on a baking tray

Serve the apple turnovers while they’re still warm. I found these are best eaten on the day that they’re made, as the pastry will still be nice and flaky.

You can store them in an air tight container for a few days, but the pastry will soften up. You can crisp up a softened pastry a little by warming it up in the oven at about 200°F just until warmed through.

fresh baked apple turnovers, cooling on a wire rack


Apple Turnovers

Tender flaky pastry, encasing a warm and delicious spiced apple filling.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 32 turnovers

Ingredients

  • 4 large tart apples (such as granny smith)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 x 425g sheets puff pastry

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water

Instructions

  • Wash, peel, and chop your apples into small pieces, no bigger than a half inch in size.
  • Add the apples, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cornstarch butter and lemon juice to a large frying pan. Cook over medium heat until the apples are slightly tender and the juices of the apple combine with the butter and sugar to take on a thickened caramel consistency. Set aside to cool.
  • Prepare the cinnamon sugar topping by mixing together 1/4 cup of granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • Prepare an egg wash by whisking together the egg with 1 teaspoon of water.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 400°F and line two baking trays with parchment paper. 
  • Lightly flour your work surface and place your first sheet of puff pastry on top. Gently roll the pastry into a 15 inch square. Cut the pastry into 16 squares, about 3.75 inches across (see notes below). 
  • Transfer the pastry squares to your parchment lined baking tray and brush a thin coat of egg wash onto the tops of each one.
  • Drop a spoonful of the apple filling onto the centre of each square.
  • Fold each pastry into a triangle shape, by taking one corner of the pastry and folding it over the filling until it touches the opposite corner. Use your fingertip, or the prongs of a fork, to crimp the edges of the pastry down along the edge and seal the filling inside.
  • Brush the tops of each apple turnover with more egg wash.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of each one.
  • Make sure the turnovers are spaced out 1-2 inches on the baking tray, then bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crispy.
  • While the first batch of pastries are in the oven, repeat the above process with the second sheet of puff pastry.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Notes

A 425g sheet of puff pastry easily yields a 15 inch square with very little rolling. If your puff pastry sheets are smaller, don't try and roll them super thin to force them to be 15 inches across. Instead, roll the pastry just enough that you can get it into a square shape, and then cut your smaller squares out of it. Squares smaller than 3.5 inches across are a little more fiddly to work with, so try to keep them that size or  bigger.
Baking times may need to be adjusted slightly if making smaller or larger apple turnovers.

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