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If something, with a few basic swaps, can be either an appetizer or dessert, it deserves a place in your arsenal. Turnovers are one such thing.
Use store-bought puff pastry and you can have flaky, golden-brown triangles in front of you in, say, 40 minutes, depending on the filling you choose. Stuff with tomato sauce, grated mozzarella, and salami and you’ve got a much fancier, incontestably more delicious version of Pizza Rolls. Use apple compote, serve with a scoop of ice cream, and it’s like a more crust-heavy, pocket-sized version of apple pie.
If all of this sounds remarkable, that’s because turnovers are. And it all happens in just a few straightforward steps, with simple ingredients and tools you probably already have in your kitchen.
- Puff pastry (homemade if you’re feeling ambitious or store-bought if you just want to get on with things), defrosted if frozen
- Filling (either, you guessed it, sweet or savory—more on this below)
- Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, milk, or heavy cream or almond milk)
- A natural bristle or silicone pastry brush (these are fairly cheap and pretty utilitarian, so we suggest getting one if you don’t already have it!)
- A fork (for crimping)
- A sheet pan or two
- Parchment paper or Silpat
Now, here’s how to make turnovers without a recipe, sweet or savory, with whatever you have on hand.
Really, the sky’s the limit here—just keep in mind you’ll want about 1/3 cup of filling per turnover, so plan (and prep) accordingly. Here are some thought starters:
Sweet filling ideas:
- Apple compote or apple butter
- Raspberry jam + chocolate (dark or milk, chips, or a sizeable square)
- Apple compote + caramel sauce
- Pecan pie filling
- Brie + raspberry jam
- Crumbled Stilton or blue cheese + grape compote
- Pumpkin butter + chocolate
- Ricotta + cranberry sauce
Savory filling ideas:
- Chili + grated cheddar
- Your favorite dumpling filling (be sure to serve these with soy sauce!)
- Cubed, crisped pancetta + grated Gruyere
- Bacon jam
- Tomato sauce (or Tomato, Butter & Onion Sauce) + grated mozzarella + salami or pepperoni
- Pickled jalapenos + grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- Braised Onion Sauce + grated Parmesan
- Pork shoulder ragù + grated Parmesan
- Pesto + mozzarella
- Pimento cheese
- Refried beans + grated cheddar
- Shredded Buffalo chicken + crumbled blue cheese
Assembling the Turnovers
A package of puff pastry (which is 17.3 ounces and contains two sheets) will yield 8 turnovers. Roll each sheet into a 12x12-inch square. Then, cut each sheet into four smaller squares. Pop these squares into the fridge while you roll and cut the other sheet. Cold pastry = flaky pastry.
Brush the edges of a square with egg wash, milk, or almond milk and place a scant 1/3 cup of filling just shy of the center, on one half the square. Fold the pastry over, crimp the edge with a fork, and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Once all of the turnovers are assembled, brush the tops with egg wash, milk, or almond milk. If you’re making sweet turnovers, you can sprinkle the tops with sugar. Using a sharp paring knife, make two small slits on the top of each pastry. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the turnovers are golden brown.
The Very Optional Accompaniment
Depending on what filling you chose, you can kind of guess what sauce, dip, or dollop might go well with it. Here are some ideas:
- Whipped cream
- Caramel sauce
- Hot fudge sauce
- Ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, coffee, caramel—you name it)
- Soy sauce
- Queso (or cashew queso)
- Green sauce
- Odd flavor sauce
- Compote, like this kumquat version
But like we said, these are optional. Turnovers can (and will) speak for themselves.
How would you fill your turnovers? Let us know in the comments!