Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spiced Strawberry Turnovers

With the strawberry jam made and no immediate inclination to preserve again any time soon, I've been racking my brain for what to do with the carton and a half left of strawberries. I adore strawberry rhubarb, but mostly for the rhubarb and I've done that already. I don't need sugary stuff lying around for those nights when my sweet tooth comes out of hibernation and there aren't that many savory dishes with strawberries that I can do... especially using the whole carton plus. So I decided to channel my baking idol and mentor, my Mother, and do as she does every year after her annual peach picking excursions and make turnovers.
So maybe not absolute beauties but pretty in a rustic way
Turnovers are great because they're small, as small as you want them to be, and they freeze well. They're great for snacking, picnics, beach days or if you hold off especially perfect for those dark days of winter when you need something that tastes like summer to get you through. With the filling I was able to add my own little creative tweaks, like a (big) splash of bourbon, some golden raisins, cardamom, cinnamon without worrying about messing too much up. And for the crust I used a full butter crust (I cannot find shortening.... granted I'm probably looking in all the wrong places but where in the h can I get some Crisco around here?) and made it the way I was taught in my pie baking class a few weeks ago- large fat pieces, bake on high heat, egg wash, sprinkled with raw sugar, otherwise not too much different than my usual pie crust. The result was a flaky and tender crust and the filling was sweet and spicy, in a spiced way like apple cider, not like spicy heat. A pretty good use for preserving strawberries, and a way that fits my comfort zone perfectly.

The blueberry pie I made in my pie class, another 100% butter crust
Strawberry Turnovers Filling
3 c. of strawberries- quartered, but in not too small pieces
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/4-1/3 c. sugar- depending on how sweet the strawberries are, could also use honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. lemon zest plus a small squeeze of juice
1-2 healthy splashes of bourbon
1-2 tsp. tapioca powder- use this as a thickener instead of corn starch so it won't taste gloppy

1. Put all ingredients on a pot and mix on medium heat until strawberries have broken down a bit, but are not mushy. Take off heat, mixture should thicken with the tapioca powder. Let cool.

Turnover Crust
(for the 100% shortening version go here)
2 1/4 c. flour
2/3 c. cold unsalted butter- cut into pieces
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. sugar
7-8 Tbl. ice cold water

1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt and mix well. Add in the butter and smush each individual piece in between your fingers- don't worry about crumbling to a cornmeal texture- pieces should be large.

2. One tablespoon at a time, pour the ice cold water around the edge of the flour/fat mixture and with a fork, bring it into the middle to combine. Continue to do this until dough starts to come together. At Tbl 5 or 6 test out dough by combining with hands. If it comes together into a ball with out too many flakes it's done, if not continue to add a tbl at a time while testing. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it sit for an hour or so in the fridge before using.

3. When ready, preheat oven to 400-425 depending on your oven (I did 12 min at 400 and 8 minutes at 425). Prepare the turnovers and crimp the edges well (I didn't, obviously... so we're calling mine "rustic"). Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle some raw sugar over (no need to buy this unless you want to, just steal a packet or 2 from a  Starbucks the next time you go... they charge you enough for coffee). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.

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