Saturday, September 29, 2007

Time to Turnover a New Treat

Late last month, the Bistro Chef and his beautiful wife, the Ballerina, welcomed a second son into their family. And as any of you who are parents know, this past month has been utterly exhausting for them.

The Innkeeper and I have been plotting for a while to arrange dinner some evening while the Bistro Chef is at the Bistro so that we could keep the Ballerina company and enjoy good food and good conversation. We planned to take dinner over this evening, and then late this week, the Innkeeper had to send in her regrets due to another commitment.

I called the Ballerina, and she still sounded excited about having me visit, so I planned a fairly simple dinner to share with her and her toddler, the Adorable Imp. (Of course, I know my idea of "simple" may not match with others as I decided to make a butternut squash risotto for us to share.)

I had originally thought to make another tarte tatin to take with me for dessert, but it didn't seem like the best thing to tote a mile up the hill since I don't have a cake carrier. So I thought and thought and thought... and came up with a new idea altogether: apple turnovers, made with homemade croissant dough.

I started the dough last evening, making a butter sheet to fold into the yeast dough and rolling out the dough again and again.

Each time I rolled out the dough, I folded it in thirds before chilling it again in order to work multiple flaky layers into the final product.

Finally, I was able to let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight. After returning from my adventure this afternoon, then, I made a simple apple filling from chopped local Freedom apples, sugar, and cinnamon before rolling out the dough and cutting wide strips for the turnovers.

A couple of quick slashes, and the turnovers were ready to rise. Before baking them, I added an egg glaze and a sprinkling of maple sugar so that the tops would brown, crisp, and have a hint of sweetness.

By the time we had finished our risotto and salad for dinner, the Ballerina, the Imp, and I were all ready for dessert. The Imp couldn't guess what I had brought, but he bravely tried something new and gradually picked his way through the turnover, so I'd say he liked it fairly well. The Ballerina and I definitely enjoyed our turnovers, and if they hadn't been so generous, we might not have saved the last one for the Bistro Chef. (He's a lucky guy.)

Given those results, I think this recipe is one to add to my occasional repertoire, and I hope you'll enjoy this new treat, too.

Apple Croissant Turnovers

I've been making croissants for over twenty years now, and I'm not sure I still have the cookbook where I found my original recipe. For this meal, I actually made a full recipe and then just used a third of the dough (freezing the rest for some Inn breakfast in the future), but for this recipe, I've approximated a reduced version. Don't be afraid to use whole grains here; spelt makes for a tender dough, and whole wheat pastry flour combined with unbleached is equally good. Serve these for dessert... or breakfast!

1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
2 T flour
1 1/2 T active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water
1/4 c milk
1 T sugar
dash salt
1 egg white
2/3 c spelt flour
2/3 c unbleached flour (as needed)
1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
2 T maple sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 egg yolk + 1 T milk for glaze
maple sugar

Cream butter with 2 T flour. Roll butter mixture between 2 sheets of waxed paper into a rectangle. Chill at least one hour.

Soften yeast in water. Heat milk, sugar, and salt until sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm, then turn into large mixing bowl. Add softened yeast and egg white; beat well.

Stir in spelt flour; beat well. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can mix in with a wooden spoon. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes total). Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

Roll dough into a square. Place chilled butter on half of the dough, fold over the other half, and roll into a rectangle. Fold and roll twice more, chilling after each rolling. Fold into thirds. Chill several hours or overnight.

Toss chopped apples, maple sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.

Roll dough into rectangle. Cut into 4 long narrow strips. Place 1/4 of the apple filling on one end of each rectangle. Roll up each strip loosely, then tuck in the ends and press the seam (on the bottom) to seal.

Place on ungreased baking sheet; make two slashes on the top with a sharp paring knife to allow the filling to steam. Cover; let rise until nearly double (30-45 minutes). Beat egg yolk and milk; brush over rolls. Sprinkle lightly with maple sugar. Bake in 375 F oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheets. Serve warm.

Makes 4 large turnovers, so share!


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