Apple Turnovers are the perfect autumn treat when you are craving apple pie. Easy, fun to make, and oh-so-delicious, even the kiddos will want to help.
As Easy as Pie
I don’t know about you, but I am not particularly fond of the statement “as easy as pie.” Pie has never been easy for me. In fact, I remember throwing away three batches of pie crust one Thanksgiving because I couldn’t get it to transfer from the counter to the pie pan. Why do you think I make Apple Crisp all autumn long? There is no crust involved ;). Ultimately, I have learned to bake a pie, but my pies are never beautiful. Unfortunately, they are not like my mom’s or my friend Kelli’s, and they are not in my book… easy.
That is where these Apple Turnovers come in. They truly are “as easy as pie” if pie were easy. Not only is the “crust” made for you, but the filling is minimal. Keep a few boxes of Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets in the freezer should the craving for apple pie arise. Even the kids can do these!
Puff Pastry Dough for Apple Turnovers
Usually, I am not one to use pre-made products. I am a scratch mama. But life is real, and Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets are really good. The trick to these is defrosting them for about twenty minutes so they are workable and rolling them out to exactly an 11X11 inch square. This allows for the perfect diagonal fold resulting in the cute little triangle pies.
Dust the counter with flour and unfold one sheet at a time. I place a ruler down so the kids know how far to roll for an 11X11 square. Then, use a pizza cutter to cut into four equal squares. Yes, you heard me right. Enlist the kiddos to help with these. Ultimately, I firmly believe what Genesis 3:19 says, “A man should eat from the proceeds of his labor.” Translated, “All hands on deck if Y’all want a tasty treat this afternoon.”
Choosing the Best Apples
Granny Smith or Gravensteins are the best apples for these turnovers because they are tart and bake up nicely. If your apples are large, use three, but if they run on the smaller side, you can up it to four without affecting the recipe. Do try and restrain yourself from doubling the filling, as I am tempted to do every time. Remember, this is not a pie. It is more like an apple croissant. But, by all means, if you want to stuff these babies by doubling the filling, you are free to do it. I won’t say I told you so. You will have two bites with no apple filling, which only builds the anticipation for that next bite with the caramelized apple bliss.
Preparing the Apple Turnover Filling
Don’t you love that transformation from cubed apple to caramelized heaven? Not to mention the smell in the kitchen while it is sautéing. Have I shared my favorite chopper with you yet? I use it every day and don’t know how I lived so long without it. It works like magic, cubing these apples and keeping them all uniform for even cooking. The Mueller Vegetable Chopper is my personal sous chef in the kitchen. This baby is used around the clock, from chopping onions to perfect sweet potatoes for my breakfast or Beef & Sweet Potato Bowls for dinner. I totally rabbit-trailed right there…apologies.
Sauté the cubed apples in 2 T butter or Ghee for five minutes until softened. Add in the sugar, spice, and salt, and sauté for an additional two minutes until the apples are fragrant and caramelized. I prefer using Sucanant or Panela Unrefined Cane Sugar instead of brown sugar because it is minimally processed and still contains many of the vital minerals and nutrients. Apple pie spice is also amazing if you have it on hand, but don’t feel you need to make a special purchase to prepare these turnovers. Additionally, the addition of Carr’s Cider Syrup yummializes everything. I keep a few bottles in the pantry all autumn to use in my Apple Crisp, Celebration Steak, and Pumpkin & Butternut Soup. Carr’s Ciderhouse is a family-owned business in Hadley, Massachusetts, and their cider syrup is out-of-this-world AMAZING!
Assembling and Refrigeration
Place 1-2 T of apple mixture in the middle of each square and brush the egg mixture down two sides. See picture below. Set the remaining egg mixture aside as you will use it in an additional step below. Fold the dough over the apple diagonal and crimp the edges with a fork. Additionally, cut three slats in the top so the air can escape, and your turnovers don’t explode in the oven. Alright, that might be a little dramatic.
Place the turnovers on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and set in the refrigerator for twenty minutes. This allows the butter in the dough to cool and harden so it steams in the oven, producing that nice lift and flaky texture. It also seals them so they don’t leak while they bake. When they are removed from the refrigerator, brush each turnover with the egg wash and place in the preheated 400° F oven for 20 minutes.
Glazing the Apple Turnovers…Don’t Skip This Step!
I have prepared these apple turnovers without the glaze. Cue the eye roll…it was a feeble attempt at making these healthier because I was feeling mom guilt for using a prepackaged pastry dough to begin with. Hey, we all need freedom from the religious spirit that chains us to a list of do’s and don’ts that we have no idea where they came from. We all want to eat healthy. But treats are treats, and the fact that you are making them at home already scores a home run in my book, mama. Treats, especially those you make with your children, can be some of the most nourishing foods because they are prepared and consumed in love. That feeds the soul right there.
Perfect Fall Treat
- 1 box (2 sheets) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
- 3 large or 4 medium Granny Smith or Gravenstein (tart) Apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into cubes
- 2 T butter
- 1/4 cup Sucanant, Panela Sugar (unprocessed cane sugar) or brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon or apple pie spice
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
- 1 T Carr's Cider Syrup (optional if you have it on hand)
- 1 egg and 1 T water for egg wash
- Extra flour for rolling out pastry dough
- For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 T heavy cream (depending on your preferred consistency)
- Pull the puffed pastry sheets from the freezer and remove each sheet from the plastic. Keep them unfolded. Thaw them on the counter for about 20 minutes.
- While the sheets defrost, peel, core, and cube 3-4 apples (depending on their size).
- Melt 2 T butter in a large skillet and sauté apples for 5 minutes.
- Add in the sugar, spice, and salt and cook on medium-low for an additional 1-2 minutes until the sugar begins to caramelize.
- Set aside a few minutes to cool while you roll out the dough.
- Until you can get good at eyeballing what an 11X11 square looks like, I recommend getting a ruler and rolling out each sheet into an 11X11 square. This is a good exercise for the kids, too. You want them to be even because each square will be its own turnover and must fold evenly.
- Spoon about 2 T apple mixture into the center of each square. This may look like a wee amount, but trust me, don't be tempted to overfill or make more filling...you know who you are.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the egg with 1 T water. With a pastry brush, brush two sides of each square with the egg wash and fold the dough over diagonally in a triangle shape. Save the egg mixture for a later step.
- Crimp the sides closed with a fork and cut three small slits in the top for air to escape while baking (see above pictures).
- Place the turnovers on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and set in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This allows the butter in the dough to cool and harden so it steams in the oven, producing that nice lift and flaky texture. It also seals them so they don't leak while they bake.
- This is a good time to preheat your oven to 400° F and set the rack to the middle position.
- After 20 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and baste the tops of the turnovers with the egg mixture.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- While the turnovers are baking, prepare the glaze by mixing 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 2-3 T of heavy cream, depending on your preferred consistency.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the sugar glaze over each turnover, moving back and forth to create those beautiful zig zags. Enjoy!