We’ve all been there, right? What to do with unsightly puff pastry leftovers?
Simples. Apple turnover time! Sweet crisp golden pastry puffs with a spiced apple filling. Yum!
The Dutch love apples combined with pastry, most notably as the famous Dutch apple pie (“appeltaart” eg apple torte in Dutch rather than apple pie), apple ball (“appel bol”, a whole apple wrapped in pastry and sprinkled with coarse sugar) and, of course, apple turnovers.
Apple turnovers are eaten hot or cold all year round as a tea time treat, but popularity soars to new heights in the winter months, especially leading up to New Year’s eve. They are so popular that puff pastry is mainly sold in ready-cut squares for ease of making these neat triangular treats at home.
If you are faced with a block of pastry or a pastry sheet, especially one with large holes punched out of it already, it’s probably easier to make an apple turnover “roll”. Saves getting the ruler out to create perfect squares.
In its simplest form, a Dutch apple turnover is raw eating apples (peeled, cored, chopped) mixed with a little sugar and cinnamon, placed on puff pastry, edges egg-washed, pastry folded over on the diagonal, edges lightly pressed down with a fork, top egg-washed and then sprinkled with coarse sugar mixed with cinnamon, baked for 20 mins or so in a 200 C oven until crisp and golden.
More often than not, a good handful of raisins, currants or sultana’s is soaked in water, juice or rum and added to the apples. Amaretto is nice too.
An indulgent upgrade is to lavishly spread the pastry with frangipane, a smooth blend of egg, sugar, butter and ground almonds, before adding the apple filling, leaving the edges clear.
Alternatively, you could stir ground almonds through the apple filling instead. It will help reduce the risk of a soggy bottom.
You can buy frangipane or almond paste, but I had lots of frangipane left over from my squashed pear and almond tartlets. So my roll has a generous amount of almondy goodness. Have frozen the rest.
Almonds feature heavily in Dutch sweet recipes throughout the colder seasons, especially in December. Some say December should really be called “almond month” in Dutch. So I felt it appropriate to call these delightful puffs “Dutch turnover rolls” rather than the less attractive “leftover turnovers”.
If you’re making this with leftover pastry as I did, cut off any solid piece. Gather the rest of the leftovers on top of one another and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a similar thickness as any solid piece you managed to salvage. Probably best to use such patchwork piece as the bottom of your rolls for aesthetic reasons.
If you have 1 large-ish piece of pastry, cut a large-ish rectangle. Add your chosen filling, egg-wash the edges and fold over the other half. Press down the edges with a fork.
If you don’t have 1, but 2 pieces of pastry, just add the filling to one piece, egg-wash the edges, top with the other piece and press down the edges with a fork. Or make little itty-bitty individual ones if you have little itty-bitty pieces.
If you have any pastry cut-offs left, cut out small shapes for decoration. Or in my case, use to cover up any holes you pulled in the pastry when you slightly overfilled your roll.
This is what they call “a serving suggestion” rather than an actual recipe, as I can’t tell you how many people this will serve, or give you quantities of ingredients, as it all depends on how much pastry you’ve got, how many apples you are hoping to clear and whether you’re adding dried fruits, almonds etc.
This would work equally well with ripe or poached pears by the way. Or if you don’t have any fruit, just fill the roll with frangipane. It’ll be reminiscent of a French almond croissant, delicious topped with a few toasted almond flakes before baking.
Use your gut feel for the apple-dried fruit-almond ratio and add sugar and cinnamon to taste (I used apple pie spice mix).
For the roll in the pictures, I only needed 2/3 of an apple, a handful of sultanas and raisins, 3-4 tbsp frangipane, 3-4 tsp of unrefined sugar and 1/2 tsp apple pie spice mix. That includes the spiced sugar sprinkling on top with some to spare.
My leftover pastry seen above yielded a roll of 23 cm x 9 cm once cooked, which amply serves 2 people or 1 ravenous glutton. In my defense, I hadn’t eaten all day and this was incredibly moreish eaten straight from the oven.