Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TWD: Flaky Apple Turnover, a humbling experience

I’m so ready for fall! Like the Apple Bars from last month, this week’s TWD, Flaky Apple Turnover, chosen by Jules of Someone’s in the Kitchen, is a teaser for fall. For me, an apple is to fall, like a lemon is to summer.

Technically it is still summer, and since I have peaches sitting in my counter, I decided to play around and instead make the turnovers with peaches.  For the peach filling, I used cardamom, just because I love cardamom, and I always find success substituting cardamom in recipes that asked for cinnamon. I added a little ginger too, since it goes well with peaches. Cardamom by the way is part of the ginger family. It turned out better than I expected. To me, the fusion of the sweet peaches and the peppery sweet taste of cardamom is phenomenal. This recipe earns its right to go in my recipe box.

Peach Filling

4 large ripe peaches, diced
3 T granulated sugar
1 t cardamom
generous pinch of grated nutmeg
generous pinch of grated ginger

I prepared the dough last Sunday, and I was really excited to find out how "flaky" it would turn out to be.  I'm always on the search for a good dough recipe that I can use for empanadas-- my absolute favorite pastry in the entire world.  So if this comes out right, I will make a batch of beef empanadas with it.

When I started rolling out the dough, I was surprised to find it was still very wet despite  being in the reefer for 2 days now.  I've read the comments of the group about the dough so I was kind of expecting a bit of difficulty handling it.  I was able to roll it to 9 x 18 alright, did the envelope fold, put it back in the reefer and went for my run.  An hour after, I resumed my baking.  I rolled it to 1/8 of an inch as
Dorie instructed in her book Baking From My Home to Yours, started cutting them, and that's when disaster started. 

It was sticking all over and was not solid, just a gooey mess.  It's a good thing I rolled them out in saran wrap, so I could flip them on either side without difficulty.  I sprinkled both sides with flour, and started working flour in  to solidify it, mindful not to work the dough too much.  Finally, I got to the consistency I thought I could work with, and I started cutting them, then filling them. 

Another challenge - the peach pieces poked holes on the dough, thus, I can already see that they are not going to be pleasant looking.  I decided to cut the peach pieces into bigger cubes earlier since I want chunky bites in my pastry, instead of those size-challenged pieces I usually get in pastry shops.  

Then to top it all, the edges wouldn't seal, they just wouldn't stick together!  Worst, the juice from the filling started oozing out.  By now I am stressed out!  I cannot believe this is happening!
On cue, the brownie monster arrived to take pictures of my "masterpiece", and found me sulking in a flour covered kitchen.  I started telling him what was going on while I dumped the cookie sheet with the turnovers in the oven without egg washing them or sprinkling them with sugar.  He was very pleasant as always and allowed me to finish ranting and raving.  Then he said the one thing that made sense that night, he told me that I shouldn't look at it as a disappointment but a challenge. 

He continued saying that for the past couple of years, baking became less of a challenge for me since most of things I bake almost always comes out better than I expected, and now, here's something I cannot control or manipulate, and I am not stepping up to the occassion!  That stopped me in my tracks, and yes, he is right.  He is soo right.  I was so humbled and at the same time embarassed with what he said, I instantly calmed down. 

When life presents you with a challenge, one should not fight it; instead, one should devise a way or ways to overcome it.  I decided to just let go and call it a night (it was getting close to 10 o'clock) with the promise to myself that I will make this an ongoing undertaking until I perfect the dough recipe.  I ended up thawing the Dufour Puff Pastry I have in my freezer that I have been saving for the Plum Danish I want to make this weekend just so I won't waste the rest of the peach filling.

Aesthetically, the peach turnovers are not good, but taste wise, it's very good.  The pastry is flaky and buttery, and the filling is simply uber yummy.  The dough will be perfect for beef empanadas alright, thus, making the "challenge" even more worthwhile. 

Earlier today, I already decided on indulging myself by  having turnover à la mode overload for dinner (I picked up some Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream on my way home), and that's exactly what I needed, and I did -- I knocked myself out.

Don’t forget to check Jules and the rest of the TWDers' take of the Flaky Apple Turnover.


  1. OH...vanilla ice cream with some caramel sauce would be heavenly with this.

  2. Oh my. Sorry this was such a toughie. But you did a great job! Mine had holes from the chunky filling as well. Thanks for baking with me!

  3. I used peaches too! Maybe it IS the peaches, but mine looked like a hot mess. I never thought to put ginger and cardamon in them; I will try that next time I make peach cobbler.

    And you have a beautiful site. :)

  4. Looking at it as a challenge is the way to go. I am sure you will get it together and I hope you'll post how the empandas turn out with this dough. Keep up the good work!

  5. I love how the brownie monster talked you through this. I had the same experience with the dough sticking to my wax paper as I was rolling it out. I have to agree with the brownie monster, I felt like it was a big mess but it actually came out tasting really wonderful. Your flaky peach turnover looks lovely and the peach filling sounds really tasty! I love ginger so I'm sure I'd feel the same way with cardamon! =)

  6. I also had a problem with the dough sticking to wax paper. I was about ready to throw them all away, but was glad I baked them because they tasted really good!