April 25, 2010
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.