Monday, February 21, 2011

Chaussons aux Pommes (Apple Turnovers)





You know how you always turn into whatever you once laughed at and sneered about? I’m sure you do. It’s a universal law- the scoffer will one day become the scoffee. Happens to everyone. (At least that’s what I tell myself.)

So. I once made fun of people who wash out food containers and plastic bags for re-use later.

Sadly, no more.  I’ve joined their ranks.

Somehow in the last few years I’ve developed hoader-ish qualities. I prefer to think of this proclivity to re-use as a higher form of recycling and less as an obsessive, compulsive disorder. Quite frankly, it’s probably a little of both.

I’d be ashamed to tell you how many plastic food containers I have stashed in a kitchen drawer. It’s unseemly, really.  When the overflow blocks the drawer from closing, Eric gets exasperated and dumps the entire drawer contents into the recycle bin. And then I start all over again.

(My apologies in advance. If you’re ever at my home and I offer to pack up some leftovers for you and pull out a gently used plastic bag, please don’t be offended. Also, I haven’t yet started re-using cling wrap but I’m sure that’s right around the corner.)

The thing is, I need all those containers and re-purposed plastic bags. How else would I fill our freezer with the food odds and ends that I can’t bear to throw out?

I’ve lost count of the number of rotisserie chicken carcasses I’ve stored away in the freezer for stock making. I know I’ve filled at least one extra-extra large plastic bag (from the grocery store bulk section- whenever I buy rolled oats I always justify taking an extra large bag since I know I’ll re-use it). I’ve got another bag for the chicken scraps I salvaged from those carcasses that will be perfect for enchiladas at some later date.

It gets a bit more random from there so I won't go into all the other half forgotten food articles collected in my freezer. 

But. In between all the flotsam and jetsom are a few real gems. Just last week I pulled out a frozen baguette half that made perfect crostini to accompany a salad.

And if I hadn’t stashed away the leftover puff pastry dough from those pain au chocolat I made last year, I wouldn’t have these lovely chausson aux pommes. 

(It’s just too bad that I forgot about the container of frozen apple pie filling leftovers I had saved for the very purpose of making chaussons. C'est la vie.)


Chaussons Aux Pommes (Apple Turnovers)
adapted from the recipe I was taught at Le Cordon Bleu

O.K. This is a little scary but I attempted to convert the metric measurements in the original apple compote recipe I was taught at Le Cordon Bleu into American. (Why are we the only country that has yet to adopt the metric system?) So anywho, please forgive me but the ingredient amounts below may be off a smidge due to the conversion. I rounded up- or down - as needed. If you’re the anal type, get out a scale and use the metric measurements given to measure out the ingredients. When serving these at a Super Bowl get together, such as I did, refer to them by their more familiar name as apple turnovers.

see recipe for puff pastry (or purchase frozen puff pastry)

Apple Compote
2-3 medium apples (I used some pretty little Fujis from North Texas)
2 T (50 g) butter
heaping ¼ c (50 g) brown sugar
¼ t of ground cinnamon
½ t vanilla
3 T (50 ml) water

Assembly
1 egg, beaten (to use as egg wash)
simple sugar syrup (1:1 ratio sugar to water)

1. (This recipe assumes that the puff pastry has been made ahead or purchased and is thawed and ready for use.) To make the compote, peel, core and dice the apples into uniformly sized chunks (approximately ¼ inch cubes).
2. In a small pan on medium heat, melt the butter and then add brown sugar, spices, and apples. Cook until the mixture reaches a boil. As it cooks, only add just as much water as is needed (depending on how juicy the apples were) to maintain a slightly liquid consistency. Once the apple mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat but leave the mixture on the hot burner to dry it out a bit and then spread the compote out on a baking sheet to allow it to completely cool before filling the pastry.
3. Preheat the oven to 375º Fahrenheit. Removed the thawed but well chilled puff pastry dough from the refrigerator and lay it out on a lightly floured surface. Using an approximately 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and transfer the rounds to a baking sheet. When finished cutting dough rounds, place the baking sheet filled with the dough rounds in the refrigerator and re-chill.
4. When you’re ready to assemble the turnovers, take the dough circles from the refrigerator one at a time and, using a floured rolling pin, roll the circles out into slightly larger ovals. Be sure to leave a thicker lip on one side of the oval. Place about 2 tablespoons of compote on the side of the oval with the thicker lip and brush the lip with a little egg wash. Fold over the other side of the dough oval to seal. Your turnovers should look like half circles.  Use a sharp paring knife to cut a simple (or elaborate, if you wish) pattern on the top side of the turnover. (I went with slashes on the diagonal because that’s about as involved as my carving skills allow.)  Brush both sides of the turnover with egg wash and return to the refrigerated sheet pan so that they remain chilled until you’re ready to bake.
5. Continue to repeat this process with the rest of the dough and compote. Prepare parchment or silpat-lined baking sheets and place the chilled turnovers on the sheets. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the turnovers are golden and crisp. If you find that they aren’t as golden as you’d like, place under a broiler for 1-2 minutes. Be sure to watch them constantly as they can go from golden to burnt quickly.
6. When the turnovers are baked, remove to a rack to cool. While cooling, make a simple syrup using a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water heated in a small pan to just under a boil and the sugar is fully dissolved. Once fully cooled, brush turnovers with the simple syrup and serve while hot. Store leftovers in an airtight container. The turnovers can be reheated in a warm oven. 
The left over scraps of puff pastry dough make marvelous cinnamon twists. Gather up all scraps and work them with your hands to form a cohesive ball of dough. Roll the ball out into a rectangle shape and cut thin strips. Brush the strips lightly with egg wash and dredge in a 1:1 cinnamon sugar mix. Lay the strips on a prepared baking sheet and holding one side of a strip as an anchor, use your other hand to twist the strip. Bake at 375º Fahrenheit for 5-8 minutes until done. 

8 comments:

  1. Oh! Your apple turnovers are so cute, so perfectly made...would love to have a bite of it just now...and the cinnamon twist look so yummie. Have a great week ahead Shelley!

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  2. These look perfect! They are the prettiest. And I totally know what you mean about the scoffer turning into the scoffee. And I'd never turn down any of these given to me in a gently used plastic bag, just sayin'.

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  3. Oooh - I LOVE finding gems in my freezer. I'm always amazed at what I've decided to store in there (for cooking though, not baking).

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  4. OMG YUMM!!!! I looooooooove apple turn overs, and those cinnamon twists look so divine. I bet your house smelled amazing with these baking in the oven, who needs pot pouri LOL.
    *kisses* HH

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  5. Your turnovers are worthy of a magazine cover and your other creations are lovely as well. It's a great recipe and it will be put to use in my kitchen. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary.

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  6. Great-looking chaussons and twists! I'd like to have homemade puff pastry always available in my freezer. Is there a way for that to happen without actually making the puff pastry? Your freezer sounds kind of like mine. Some day, I will clean it out and find all the things I've forgotten in there.

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  7. Shelly

    You're amazing! Though you make your freezer sound a bit scary... sort of like a combination graveyard/vintage store. Weird!

    The apple turnovers (I speak American perfectly well, thank you) look excellent. Instead of freezing the leftovers, perhaps you can mail them to my next time?

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  8. Thanks All!

    @Stevie- I laughed out loud when I read your comment. I can't wait to tell my husband that our freezer was described as a "combination grave yard/vintage store." He'll love it!

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