Thanks to one of my wonderful followers for suggesting I make apple turnovers. I hadn't really jumped head first into fall recipes yet, so this was the perfect first fall bake to get me in the spirit. A lot of turnover recipes use store bought puff pastry, which is great cause it's so easy, but I think these are more fun and arguably more delicious because they use an ultra flakey, puffy, home-made pie dough. They're also on the smaller side, so you can feel good about eating several.
Total time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Active time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Makes 10 turnovers
Ingredients for the dough:
1+1/2 cups (189 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
Ingredients for the filling and assembly:
4 medium honeycrisp apples (or other baking apples)
4 tbsp sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice (about 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
Raw or coarse sugar, for sprinkling
Instructions for the dough:
If you haven’t made pie dough before, the most important thing is to keep the dough cold. We want the butter to stay in small (visible) chunks throughout the dough rather than melting into it, because those globs of butter will steam in the oven and create flakiness! That’s why it’s important to start with cold butter and not overwork your dough.
1.) To make the dough using a food processor: begin by cubing the cold butter, and putting it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Put flour, salt, and sugar in the food processor and pulse to combine. Add very cold, cubed butter and pulse with dry ingredients until the butter is broken down to the size of peas. Drizzle 4 tbsp of very cold water over the mixture and pulse briefly to incorporate. Add 1 additional tbsp of cold water at a time, pulsing after each, until the mixture begins to clump together. If you grab a handful, it should hold together, but the dough should not be wet or sticky. For me, this typically takes only one additional tbsp of water (5 total).
To make the dough by hand: begin by freezing the butter for about 15 minutes. Put flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine. Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients. Toss together with your fingers and break up any large chunks, so that butter is roughly the size of peas, but not smaller. Drizzle 4 tbsp of very cold water over the mixture and use your hands to incorporate throughout. Add 1 additional tbsp of cold water at a time, incorporating between additions, until the mixture begins to clump together. If you grab a handful, it should hold together, but the dough should not be wet or sticky. For me, this typically takes only one additional tbsp of water (5 total).
2.) Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface, and use your hands to work the shaggy mixture into a dough. Clump the dough together with your hands, and the fold it over on itself a couple times until you have a relatively smooth dough ball. Flatten it slightly into a roughly 1 inch tall square. This will make it easier to roll out into the correct shape later. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. In the meantime, make the filling.
Instructions for the filling:
1.) Begin by peeling and coring your apples, and then cutting them into approximately 1/3-inch cubes; aim for roughly the size of your pointer finger nail. No need to be precise. Place the cubed apples into a medium bowl, and toss together with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes or until slightly juicy.
2.) In a medium saucepan, cook the apple mixture over medium heat until the juices are bubbling. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan, bring to a boil and cover. Let it cook for about 4 minutes, at which point the apples should have softened significantly and should be very juicy. Now use a potato masher to press the apples lightly, bringing out more of the natural juices but leaving the filling very chunky. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
Instructions for assembly:
1.) To assemble, begin by removing your dough from the fridge and placing it onto a large, floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough and your rolling pin and roll the dough from the center, outward, lifting the dough up to flour underneath as needed. We will be trimming this into a 8 inch tall by 20 inch wide rectangle, so make sure that your rolled out dough is big enough to accommodate (this means that you need the dough to be a full 20 inches across for at least 8 inches, not just at the widest point). Use a knife to trim this to a neat rectangle, and cut once across and 4 times vertically into ten 4-inch x 4-inch squares. Gently transfer these to a parchment lined baking sheet.
2.) Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water; this egg wash will serve as the glue to hold our turnovers closed. Place a scant tablespoon of the cooled apple filling onto the center of each square. It's really important that you don't overfill these, or you won't be able to close them properly; use less filling than you think you should. One at a time, use a paper towel to thoroughly brush the edges of each square with egg white and fold one corner across to the other. Use your fingers to seal the deal, pressing the edges together. Use a fork dipped in flour to crimp the pressed edges. Hang on to the remaining egg wash.
3.) Transfer 5 of them to a plate or second sheet tray, as we'll bake these in two round. Put them all in the fridge for about 20 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 375° F. This will help prevent the filling from leaking out while they bake.
4.) Once the oven is preheated, remove the first tray from the fridge. Brush the entire top of each turnover with egg wash and very generously sprinkle each with raw sugar; don't go light here, as this will form a gorgeous crunch on top of the turnovers. Cut three slits in the top to allow steam to vent in the oven. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until they are golden brown, puffed, and flakey. Repeat with the second tray. While it's tempting to eat them right away, they'll be much better if you allow them to cool for about 15 minutes before enjoying. Happy fall!