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Cherry Turnovers

My cherry pie/tart fillings have been hit or miss due to the amount of liquid extracted from the fruit when cooking.  After considerable trial and error, my friend Carolyn turned me on to this particular recipe.  It is now my new favorite for pies, tarts and turnovers.  And, lucky for me, as tart cherries are in season at this moment.

Now that I had the filling perfected, my next dilemma was finding suitable dough that would cloak all this deliciousness.  You see, my stash of home-made, that I generally keep in the freezer had already been used for other recipes.  Therefore, the choices I had included a brand called Dufour (touting all butter and according to their website is available across the country), Pepperridge Farms; or if you live in the Twin Cites – The Wedge Co-op’s own brand.

This time though, I decided to use the Dufour brand.  It’s not inexpensive at $10 a package retail, but with the all-butter claim and the fact that I have had success with it in the past; I decided I’d use it again.

For the Filling:
2 cups pitted sour cherries (10 ounces), fresh or frozen (thawed and drained)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
Pinch of kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
14-ounce package of puff pastry
Egg wash (beat together 1 large egg with a teaspoon of water)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In an 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish, mix the cherries with the cornstarch, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt.

Bake for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.   The juice will become thickened and bubbling.  Remove from the oven.  Stir in the extracts and allow to cool to room temperature.

While the filling is cooling and the oven is heating, it’s time to tackle the pastry.  It generally comes frozen.  In the case of Dufour [1] it is in one 14-ounce sheet folded between a layer of parchment paper.  The paper prevents it from sticking to itself.  It’s also best to keep it wrapped and to thaw it in the refrigerator.  When ready to use, unwrap and cut the un-folded dough in half along the seam.  This will give you two, approximately 6 x 9 rectangles.

Lightly flour (preferably a granite or marble) counter-top and rolling pin [2].  Working quickly, roll each half of the dough to an 8 x 12 rectangle.  Keeping moving it on the counter, adding a little flour as necessary, to prevent it from sticking.  Using a bench knife [3], cut the rectangle down the middle (resulting in two 4 x 12-inch rectangles).

From there cut each of the rectangles into 3 equal parts.  Six 4 x 4 squares should be the end result from each half of the original dough.  If the dough gets too  soft, pop it back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Retrieve them from the refrigerator and using a pastry brush [4], brush two sides of each square of dough with egg wash.  Place a good tablespoon of the filling on half of each square.

Fold the dough over and seal the two sides by pressing the seam with the tines of a fork.  Again, if the dough seems soft, place it back in the refrigerator until it firms up.  Then proceed where you left off.  After all 12 turnovers are assembled; into the refrigerator they go one more time until firm; about 20 minutes.  Remove them from the fridge, brush each lightly with additional egg wash, vent by making a small slash in the top, and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  At this point they can be frozen.  (I freeze them on a sheet pan and then place them to a zip-loc bag.)

Bake (from the refrigerator or freezer) on a parchment lined sheet pan for about 40 minutes or until nicely browned.   Watch them carefully, because after all this work the last you want is to have them burn on you.  Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.