Sunday, March 14, 2010

Berry Puff Turnovers, from King Arthur Flour-- and some baking tips for the fearful baker!

My husband is from the Midwest-- Missouri, to be specific.  He loves pie.  Specifically, he loves berry pie.  I adore my husband, and when he fixed my oven within 24 hours of the igniter sputtering it's last flicker of gas-- well, I wanted to make him something special.  I like pie, but it's not my #1 favorite dessert. I love tarts...custardy tarts.  But, today wasn't about me!  I was going to make a pie crust-- and then I read a food blog that I often visit.  "The Kitchen Witch" is Erma Bombeck, reincarnated... with an attitude.  She's hilarious and I chuckled when I read her post how she just can't bake.  Long story short, I have heard this so many times.  I've also heard too many people say that they can't make pie crusts.  They say that no matter what they do-- they turn out rock hard and lousy.  I admit, that I keep a box of frozen Trader Joe's pie crusts for days I want to make something fast-- like my plum galette. Rolling out pastry really isn't as hard as people think. There are just a few basic rules-- that if you follow them, I bet you can make tender pie crusts.  Today's recipe is one I've planned to make since summer.  I bookmarked the recipe, and bought most of the ingredients and gadgets that KAF "pitched" within the recipe. I hope, that at the end of this post, you'll try making pie crusts or these puff turnovers. I'm sure glad I did:

I'll talk about pie crusts another time, because people swear that shortening/lard is the key.  This "Blitz" puff pastry dough uses all butter and sour cream.  First tip: you want the butter to ice cold. I don't use margarine, and I don't recommend. It's dessert... this is no place to cut calories, because the fat is what makes this puff. I use a food processor, and I pulse the butter with the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder and salt.  Second tip: Don't over work the dough!  That's what makes it tough.  You want chunks of butter.

You'll be adding 4 oz of sour cream. I do use lite sour cream, because I think it works well. Maybe yogurt would work, but I didn't want to risk it. Let me know if you try it! Add the sour cream and pulse it until just combined. Pat the dough into a rough square, then roll it into an 8" x 10" rectangle-- it's best to do this on a floured surface. Speaking of surfaces...
I have a marble pastry board, that I've used for years. I like it, because I freeze it for about 30 minutes so it stays nice and cold.  If you don't have one, don't sweat it.  It just buys me more time to work with pastry dough, which wants to stay cold.  Dust both sides of the dough with flour. Starting with one of the shorter (8") ends, fold it in thirds like a business letter, flip it over (so the open flap is on the bottom), and turn it 90°.
 Roll the dough into an 8" x 10" rectangle again. Fold it in thirds, wrap in plastic, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before using.
NOTE: This is a very important step, to get puffy and tender dough.

There were prisms coming from Craig's stained glass that were casting over my pastry photos. I noticed my feline, Tiger Lilly, was basking in the late afternoon sun and turning over from side-to-side. She looks like puff pastry, herself! Sorry, I couldn't help myself..

While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Mix the sugar and ClearJel till well combined ** (ClearJel is a product sold on King Arthur's website.) **If you're using cornstarch, mix it with enough cold water to dissolve.   Add the sugar mixture to the raspberries, tossing to combine. Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon-- I didn't use cinnamon  and added 1/2 tsp almond extract, which I prefer-- (and the cornstarch/water mixture, if you're using cornstarch). My opinion? I really like ClearJel for thickening my fruit recipes.
 Heat the mixture in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring, till the berries soften and fall apart. The mixture will be thick and jam-like, even though it doesn't really warm up much; this will take under 5 minutes. If you use cornstarch, cook and stir till the mixture bubbles and thickens. You can prepare the filling up to several days before; cover and refrigerate till you're ready to use it.
NOTE: I only used half the fruit mixture, so decrease by half if you don't want leftovers. I do!

So, here's another gadget I bought from King Arthur-- turnover press.  You don't need these, by the way. You can cut squares and fold the turnovers into triangles. But, I'm a gadgetholic. It's a curse to my budget.  This is my maiden voyage with these. As expected, I ran into some trouble:

An hour later, I removed the pastry from the fridge.  On a marble surface, I added flour.  Don't unfold the dough!  You want to roll it out.  Another tip: to avoid frustration, I roll my dough, and give it a quarter turn.  This prevents the dough from sticking to the rolling surface, resulting in torn dough. I've done this so many times, but now this helps me a lot.  The press has a side that automatically cuts the dough for. Cool! I read the directions-- press the dough into the form, then add the filling and squeeze. Ooops!  The filling oozed out a hole in the pastry.  I considered giving up.  But, I don't give up that easily. Think, think, think.

Flour!  I had the side without flour, face down into the press. D'oh!  By folding the press in half, it released the dough (I battled to get two out, previously, resulting in tears. Next, I forgot to use a little egg was as glue.  I decreased the filling by half-- there, that was looking better.

With a little practice, I got the hang of it.  I officially like the press-- and I'm already thinking.... savory pasties... empenadas...nutella filling.  For $7.00, I think it's a useful gadget-- if you like to bake.

I got 11 turnovers-- not 13-14.  I will double the pastry, next time. I paid about $15.00 for my marble cutting board-- of course, this was over a decade ago.  The pastry stayed cold.   I did refrigerate some of the turnovers, while I made the rest.

Yeah, these are kind cute!  Otherwise, just crimp the turnovers with a fork.  

Still, I love to brush on an egg wash. I think it gives pastry a pretty color.  I also have the coarse white sugar.
I also order the pre-cut parchment paper, because shipping is free. They fit my baking sheets perfectly! I have Silpat mats, but I think pastries bake better on parchment paper. By the way, I am not paid by King Arthur to recommend these products. I wish!  I just love their store-- and it's my toy store. I checked the pastries at 14 minutes in a 400F oven...

They smelled amazing, and they were golden brown.  But, some of them did open up--
What the...?

There's a nice one!

Look at those tender layers!  But, is the pastry good?

The answer is no.  They are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-L-Y FANTASTIC! Better than good!

 By the way, you could freeze these beauties, BEFORE baking them.  I think I'll do that, by making a double batch. Know why?

I delivered two of these to my son's apartment for him to taste test.  He says these are even better than the ones he buys from a local bakery.  He says they are the best!  That's good enough for me.

If you think you can't bake-- just follow the recipe.  Measure all of your baking ingredients.  It's not hard at all, and I think these turnovers are just as good as-- maybe even better than the store bought ones in the freezer section.  If my son's recommendations means anything-- they are the best. Thank you King Arthur Flour for your excellent products and recipes. I'm a fan!

The recipe can be printed by scrolling below. You'll see a recipe card-- just press PRINT.  Daylight savings time dictates that I should be in bed now.  5:30am isn't registering with me, and I'm sure my brain will want to steal back that extra hour. Then again, I can finally swim after work-- and get back into shape.  By the way, I only ate two of these. The rest are for my husband and son.  They deserve it. For me, this recipe was all about the challenge.

From a loving wife and mom,

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Bonnie said...

These turnovers look great. I've saved the recipe and hope to try them. Thanks.

Debinhawaii said...

They look delicious--I love turnovers, and Tiger Lily is adorable. ;-)

Robin said...

Yummm!!! I have been pondering making pastry! thanks for tempting me!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Wow these look absolutely gorgeous - and I love your cat too.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

That turnover press looks like a very handy gadget. Can't wait to see what you come up with on the savory side. By the way, I'll sign on as your regular fix-it guy if you'll make me these turnovers!

TKW said...

Those are gorgeous little beauties!

As an aside, Tiger Lily looks a lot like our mischievous cat, Harryboy.

Susan said...

Those look amazing!! So flaky and buttery! And the press is a pretty neat gadget. I may have to get one of those for myself.

Love the picture of Tiger Lily in the sun. My kitty, Snowball loves to lay in the sunshine.

Phoo-D said...

These look marvelous Debbie! I love the jammy filling and crystalized sugar on top. Mmmm.

Bellini Valli said...

I am one of those that would say I just can't seem to make pastry. I have found that it works best if I don't touch it at all and make it in a food processor:D I will have to try these little hand pies.

Kim said...

Oh found my weakness! I love pie, specifically berry pies. The problem is that I'm the only one in the house who loves them and you know what that means. Yes, that means I eat the whole pie. These look delicious and I bet your husband was thrilled with them:D

Julie said...

I am just loving these in a big way! Very nice indeed :)

Velva said...

I am with your husband, I love berrie pies! Fruit turnovers would be divine.

I also chuckled when read Kitchen Witch's blog post and her mention of not being able to bake....As I read it, I nodded my head up and down in agreement with her. I can't bake to save my life (laugh).

Carla and Michael said...

Your pictures are shall I say it: Picture Perfect. Those layers of yummy goodness are taunting. And those presses you bought are to cute. I love empanadas, so I am going to have to order them.

Monica H said...

They're so puffy and flaky- nice! I bet Craig was a happy man.

soupmaker said...

Look yummy. Great photo too.

bella said...

Mmmmm, yum yum! These look fantastic! You make everything look so easy! We have a big fat grey tabby cat too named "Tigger" . . . they're so much fun! Roz

Ingrid said...

Those are definitely something my children would love. Thanks for the encouragement.

Bunny said...

These look fantastic, I'm off to KAF to get the molds to make this!!!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Oh, Debby... I found your blog through another blog and I don't know where to look first, everything looks so delicious!!! I just became your newest follower so that I don't miss any of your new posts! I was looking at another recipe of yours, then saw this turnover photo, and I HAD to click on it to see more! Goodness, ALL of your food looks absolutely luscious! I am looking forward to discovering more of your blog! Take care.

Amalia said...

I'm literally drooling right now! These look AH-MAZING!! Wow. That's all I can say.