Remember, they’re rustic

April 25, 2010

Rustic Strawberry Turnovers

I finally broke down and did it. Bought strawberries. I’ve been eyeing them for a month, ever since they appeared stacked on an island in the center of the produce section. I’d glide past, knowing full well they’d look a wee bit premature, a little white, a little pale. Not yet. And so it was another round of apples and oranges. But then last week, I caved. Vibrant red, not a speck of white, healthy tops. Petite. None of those strawberries on steroids.

They made their way into these rustic strawberry turnovers for a dinner party. I capitalized on the rustic. I kind of sort of obsess over making food, desserts in particular, look perfect. This is a function of my (occasional) type A personality. But when you know that these are meant to be rustic, you won’t freak out when you spy them splitting and spitting in the oven. You’ll only partially freak out. For a second. And then you’ll remember they’re rustic, and you’re way too uptight sometimes.

A note about the shortbread pastry dough. I love it. It comes together like a dream in the food processor and, after chilling for 30 minutes, rolls out effortlessly provided you’ve floured your workspace well. I used a 5-inch diameter bowl to cut out the rounds even though the original recipe calls for 4-inch rounds. It worked fine. The recipe easily makes a dozen, with enough dough to make one to two more depending on the diameter of the rounds.

I prepared and baked these the same day they were served. We warmed them before serving, a la mode. I’m wondering if I can make the turnovers and freeze them before baking, to be baked off later. Any suggestions? Should I let them sit at room temperature for a bit, or just increase baking time?

Rustic Strawberry Turnovers

(Adapted from Fine Cooking)

Shortbread Pastry Dough

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) bleached allpurpose flour
  • 7 oz. (14 T) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 T chilled heavy cream
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp table salt

In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, egg, sugar, cream, lemon juice, and salt and pulse until the dough starts gathering together in big clumps, as shown above. Turn the dough out onto a counter and gather it together.

Divide the pastry in half. Pat each half into a 1-inch thick round, wrap each in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out one round of the pastry into a 9×14-inch oval. If the dough is too sticky, dust it too with a little flour. Cut the dough into six rounds, each about 4-5 inches in diameter. Remove the excess dough from around the rounds and discard or save for another use. Run a metal spatula under each round to separate it from the counter.


  • 4 tsp granulated sugar, more as needed
  • 1 T all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sliced (1/4 inch thick) fresh strawberries
  • 1 to 2 T milk

In a large bowl, stir the 4 tsp sugar and the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the strawberries and gently toss to coat. Taste and add more sugar if the fruit seems tart.

Put a heaping tablespoon of strawberries (about 4-5 slices, depending on size) in a single layer on one half of each dough round. Press gently to flatten the berries a bit. Dampen the pastry edges with a little water and carefully fold the other side of the dough over the berries to make a half moon. Press the edges of the dough together with your fingers or the tines of a fork. If any small cracks formed in the dough, pinch them together as best you can with damp fingers. Use a spatula to transfer the turnovers to the baking sheet.

Repeat this process with the remaining half of the pastry dough and the rest of the berries. When all of the turnovers are assembled, refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours. Meanwhile, position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees.

When ready to bake, brush the tops of the turnovers (but not the edges or they will get too brown) with the milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 min. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12.

  1. Laura

    April 25, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Confirmative. Yum.

  2. M.

    April 25, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I’ve been stuffing myself with strawberries everyday now :) and your turnovers looks sooooo delicious and tempting! I am saving this recipe to my favorites.

  3. allison from "a for aubergine"

    April 25, 2010 at 10:40 am

    These look perfect. What I love is that they’re incredibly easy to make and anything can work as the inside of the turn-over. Love this!

    p.s. I’ve been straining yogurt like a mad woman! Ever since your yogurt entry. I buy the regular low fat yogurt at $2.99 for 32oz and save so much my straining it to make Greek yogurt!

  4. grace

    April 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    rustic is just code for delicious and excusably messy. :)

  5. Stephanie

    April 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    When working with baking, I think “handmade” tends to look more charming than “machine made”.

    I think they look scrumptious and you must be reading my mind somewhat, because I’ve been yearning for strawberry pie.

  6. Susan J. Rafter

    April 25, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I think you may have to cook the filling if you’re going to freeze the turnovers prior to baking. I’m not sure what would happen to the strawberries if they’re frozen fresh. Maybe they’d be too watery. Just a guess…. Those turnovers look wonderful and may have to make an appearance at my table this week!!!

  7. Nicole

    April 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Strawberries are my favorite, and these look amazing! Love the rustic look, too.

  8. Valen

    April 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Oh gosh these are beautiful! They look delicious!

  9. I have never put nutmeg on Strawberries… Just that makes me want to make the recipe!

  10. david

    April 27, 2010 at 1:27 am

    oh hint if u dont want it to explode out of the sides or crack make slits on the top

  11. Tracy

    April 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I finally broke down and starting buying strawberries last week. It was a much needed change. My mouth was getting tired of citrus. A bit premature, but I’m already looking forward to peaches. Tarts look lovely and rustic, btw. There’s beauty in rusticity. Embrace it :)

  12. Katie @ Cozydelicious

    April 27, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Oh yum!! These are adorable. I broke down too and bought a ton of berries. I made a galette last weekend but still have so many to use up. I’ll have to make these too! As for freezing… I’m wondering if after freezing and thawing the berries would get soggy. If so, I guess you could cook the filling, or maybe if you just added some extra flour that might help. Not sure…

  13. molly

    May 3, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Oh, my, these look sublime. I love the idea of a shortbread pie crust! Although I’ve never tried this one, I have frozen unbaked pies, and simply popped them, frozen, in the oven later. Just another 5-10 minutes’ baking time, and they seem to do great!

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