Move over, apple turnover

by April on September 20, 2011

French Apple Turnovers

The key to these chaussons aux pommes is finding the right puff pastry.

I read the recipe in Bon Appétit’s Cooking Life column (Paris in a Pastry), but it was almost one month later when I finally made them, all because I had difficulty locating the all-butter puff pastry. Margarine was easy enough to come by, but would the French make these with margarine? Quelle horreur! I finally found it at a Whole Foods in the refrigerated section. It was at the top of the shelf in plain plastic packaging, and I almost missed it entirely. (If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s, I’ve heard great things about their store-brand pastry.)

With this recipe, Molly Wizenberg, author and writer behind the food blog Orangette, shows us how to channel our inner Parisian and take the American apple turnover to a new level.

In my house, they aren’t just a success, they’re a home run. Luis talks about them for weeks after the last crumb is gone. The blend of apples Wizenberg recommends creates a sweet filling with just the right amount of tart. With very little added sugar, and even less lemon juice, it’s really apples boiled down in their own juices — a celebration of apple.

If you want to be extra fancy you can call these by their French name, which translates to something like “slippers of apple,” (correct me if your French is better than mine, which is highly likely, since mine is awful). I call them by their French name unless I’m around a French-speaker, in which case I opt for “French apple turnover” to spare their ears. Come to think of it, these little pockets of apple and puff might be the most compelling reason to learn French.

Chaussons aux Pommes

Makes 8.

For the filling:

  • 3/4 lb. Granny Smith apples
  • 3/4 lb. Golden Delicious apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

For the pastry:

  • 1 14- to 16-ounce package all-butter frozen puff pastry (1 or 2 sheets, depending on brand), thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
  • Superfine sugar (optional)

To make the filling:
Peel, core, and cut apples into 1-inch pieces, and place in medium saucepan. Add water, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until apples are very tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Gently mash apples with fork until very soft but still chunky. Cool completely. Filling can be made two days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Position one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

To prepare the pastries:
If using 14-ounce package (one sheet), roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to 15-inch square. If using 16-ounce package (two sheets), stack sheets together and roll out on lightly floured surface to 15-inch square. Cut pastry into nine 5-inch squares. Place one generous tablespoon filling in center of each of eight squares (keep remaining square for another use). Lightly brush edges of one pastry with beaten egg. Fold half of pastry square over filling, forming triangle. Press and pinch pastry edges with fingertips to seal tightly. Lightly brush pastry with beaten egg. Sprinkle lightly with superfine sugar, if desired. Repeat with remaining squares.

Using thin, sharp knife, make three small slits on top of each triangle to allow steam to escape. Place triangles on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake turnovers until beginning to color, about 15 minutes. Reverse baking sheets from top to bottom. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; continue baking until turnovers are firm and golden, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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