Monday, June 1, 2009

Cherry Turnovers

Oops, I'm supposed to be posting this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe. Well, you see, I accidentally spent way too much time watching Stevie Nicks videos on YouTube during my only free time for baking this week. Then the old "I want to be Steve Nicks when I grow up" fantasy took over, and, well, you know...

I made my You Want Pies with That? entry recently, so I'll share that instead.

Well, I can't really share these, since they're long gone. (Can you blame me? Yum!)

This month, Ellen at Kittymama, challenged us to bake a pie or tart that was inspired by a favorite childhood memory.

It didn't take me long to recall one of my very favorite ways to spend my baby-sitting money... Hostess cherry pies. I loved those things!

When I was a kid and I'd go to the grocery store with my mom, there was no contest when we hit the Hostess display. Twinkies? Ding Dongs? No thanks, I'll take the humble cherry pie.

Fastforward to today...

I haven't had a Hostess pie in eons.

Of course, I had to buy one for comparison.

Really, there is no comparison between the two. Look how light and flaky the pastry is (see my cheater peach-version recipe below).

These were so good, I had to hurry up and ship them off to the neighbors before I devoured them myself. I loved how they were so portable too. I can see why they've earned the name "hand pies".

Thanks go out to Kittymama for inspiring me to try these. They were fantastic!

Once again, I chose a recipe from The Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I took excerpts from the recipe that apply to the cherry turnovers. If you want a boatload of variations for both fillings and pastry for Fruit Turnovers, please pick up a copy of this book. You won't be disappointed, I promise!

Taken from the Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Reprinted with permission.

Rose says: Turnovers are for those who adore pie dough, because this pastry contains the highest proportion of flaky golden crust to fruit filling. For this reason as well, I prefer to keep them small in size; in fact, for me, the miniatures offered below as a variation are perfect. I also like to roll the dough as thin as possible. Sprinkling the top of the dough with sugar makes it crackly/crunchy.

In a turnover, I prefer a cream cheese or basic flaky pie crust to puff pastry. Not only is there a better proportion of filling to crust, but no matter how you seal and vent the puff pastry, it always opens at some point along the seam, spewing out some of the filling. I asked one of my favorite pastry chefs how she managed to keep the fruit in the puff pastry turnover she served me. Her answer: "Are you kidding? It always leaks out - I spooned it back in!" It's always great to know you're not alone.

Jacque says: I have a few comments here and there, denoted in italics with an asterisk (*).


A 17- by 12-inch baking sheet (half-size sheet pan) lined with aluminum foil or parchment (*I used the non-stick side of non-stick aluminum foil and that was a mistake... my turnovers were sliding around like skaters on a skating rink.)


Cherry Filling, cooled (see below)
Basic Flaky Pie Crust, for a 2-crust pie (see below)
1/2 large egg white, lightly beaten (1 Tbsp. or 0.5 ounce or 14 grams)
Optional Glaze (1 large egg, lightly beaten & approx. 2 tsp. sugar)

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces (1.75 ounces/50 grams each) (*I divided mine into 16 equal pieces.)

Using a floured pastry cloth and sleeve or two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap, roll out one piece of dough slightly less than 1/8 inch thick and large enough to cut out a 6-inch circle. Using a cardboard template and a sharp knife, cut out the circle. Transfer it to the bottom end of a 9-inch-long piece of plastic wrap. Brush the bottom half of it with the egg white. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the fruit onto this section, leaving a 1-inch border (* I used about 2 tablespoons). Using the plastic wrap if the dough is at all sticky, fold the top part of the dough over the fruit, so that the edges are flush. With your fingers, firmly press the 1-inch border to seal it. Fold the edge up over itself, pressing again to seal it. Cover the turnover with the top section of the plastic wrap and lift the turnover onto the foil-lined sheet. Repeat with the remaining turnovers. Refrigerate them for 1 hour or freeze them for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. at least 20 minutes before baking. Set the oven rack in the lowest position and place a baking stone or large cookie or baking sheet on it before preheating.

Unwrap the turnovers and space them evenly on the foil-lined sheet. If desired, brush them lightly with the egg glaze and sprinkle lightly with the sugar. Use a small sharp knife to cut 3 steam vents through the dough into the top of each turnover.

Place the sheet directly on the stone and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling thickly out of the vents and the pastry is golden. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for 20 to 30 minutes. These are best eaten warm.


14 ounces cherries (2 1/2 cups or 400 grams)
2/3 C. sugar (4.6 ounces or 132 grams)
1 Tbsp. + 2 1/4 tsp. cornstarch (16.5 grams)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract or 1 tsp. Kirsch

(*Rose gives two methods for making the filling - I am including the method I chose here. Note that the cornstarch varies slightly if using the other method.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and salt. Add the fruit and lemon juice and, using a rubber spatula, toss together gently to coat the fruit. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Transfer the berries and their juices to a saucepan. Stir the lemon zest and cornstarch into the fruit until the cornstarch is dissolved and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring gently. Allow it to boil for 30 seconds to a minute, until the juices become clear and very thick. Gently stir in the Kirsch or extract. Empty the mixture into a bowl and allow it to cool completely, without stirring.


14 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter (7 ounces or 200 grams)
2 1/4 C. + 2 Tbsp. pastry flour or 2-1/4 C bleached all-purpose flour (11.25 ounces or 320 grams)
1/4 + 1/8 tsp. salt*
optional: 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (if not using, double the salt)
5 to 7 Tbsp. ice water (2.6 to 3.6 ounces or 74 to 103 grams)
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar (0.5 ounce or 14 grams)

* for savory recipes, use 1-1/2 times the salt.

Divide the butter into two parts, about two thirds to one third:
4.5 ounces and 2.5 ounces (9 tablespoons and 5 tablespoons)

Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes. Wrap each portion of butter with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the larger amount and freeze the smaller for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and optional baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Food Processor Method

Place the flour mixture in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Set the bag aside.

Add the larger amount of butter cubes to the flour and process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the remaining frozen butter cubes and pulse until all of the frozen butter is the size of peas. (Toss with a fork to see it better.)

Add the lowest amount of the ice water and the vinegar and pulse 6 times. Pinch a small amount of the mixture together between your fingers. If it does not hold together, add half the remaining water and pulse 3 times. Try pinching the mixture again. If necessary, add the remaining water, pulsing 3 times to incorporate it. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together without being pinched.

Spoon the mixture into the plastic bag. (For a double-crust pie, it is easiest to divide the mixture in half at this point.)

Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with the knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc (or discs) and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight.


(*Take a 15-oz. can of sliced peaches in light syrup and drain the peaches. Cut the slices into about 3 pieces each. Place about 2 slices worth of peaches on a egg-white coated dough circle, sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sugar (or to taste) and give it a shake of cinnamon. Proceed with sealing the turnovers as directed above.)


Megan said...

I am totally craving pie right now - and although fruit pies were never my favorite growing up, the options for filling a hand pie are endless.

Great, now I am going to be dreaming of pie all night.

Amanda said...

Awesome! I love the Hostess cherry pies too, have you ever looked at the calorie and fat count on the package? Holy moly! LOL I've been looking for a hand pie recipe, so thank you for sharing :)

Cakelaw said...

Yum!!! Cherries and almonds in flaky pastry is a killer combination.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Oooh yumm! I love the filling oozing out in the top corner of the first picture :)

Pamela said...

I think we may have been separated at birth. I used to use my babysitting money for some Hostess treats, too. Cherry pie was at the top of the list! Loved the sweet glaze on the crust. Your turnovers look amazing!

Teanna said...

I've been wanting to make turnovers for so long, but for some reason have been nervous about it! But you have completely sold me on it! Absolutely gorgeous!

ButterYum said...

Lol... love the Stevie Nick intro! I'm really liking this blog!

Grace said...

i love cherry pie in any way, shape, or form. hand-held? best yet. bravo, jacque!

Anonymous said...

Your cherry turnovers look wonderful! I loved those little pies as a child. My mom would never buy them though. Great choice!

Bunny said...

I could eat cherry pie filling with a spoon, in a crust would be my next choice!! LOL!! I've never made hand pies, I must do this!!

Carol Peterman said...

Those are beautiful! I am making pies tomorrow with a friend, and I think I will have to make some hand pies.

The Food Librarian said...

Ohhhhh!!! I love Hostess!! Gosh, that brings back so many memories. I loved the apple pies...and I would devour the crust.

Yours look soooo much better!

Joshley and The Charles said...

OMG! those look amazing! Maybe i shouldn't read blogs when im starving! Feel free to ship them over my way :)

Nichi said...

Home made hostess pies...yum!

Jen H said...

I love that hostess pies were your inspiration! And yours look fabulous.

suz said...

I'm pretty sure you can do no wrong. Yep, that's you doing no wrong at all. Those hostess pies were amazing; I was never allowed to eat them. It looks like a process to get them just right but fantastic results!

LaDue & Crew said...

Yum! I am totally craving these about now!

Kate said...

I have always wanted to make turnovers. These look fabulous! Thanks for the detailed instructions!

WizzyTheStick said...

I am severely pastry challenged. I must try the food processor method you have outlined here. I seems like something I could do.