A long time ago, we used to eat at Arby’s. Having the sweet tooth that I do, I always wanted to get a turnover. They were sitting in plain sight, under the heat lamp, just begging to be sold. It was always a struggle to win over my mom and convince her that getting me a turnover was a GRAND idea.
Now I suppose I see why she was so reluctant. They weren’t anything that special, being a fast food turnover. Nobody lovingly made them from scratch with a homemade fruit filling.
But when it comes down to it, I think turnovers are just plain adorable. Look at one and tell me you disagree.
We don’t see so many turnovers these days, which is why they’re a fun treat to make every once in a while. People will get excited, gasp, and make cooing noises.
Cherries are coming into season, and are almost ready locally in western Colorado. I love their deep red hue, firm texture, and versatile flavor. They can taste completely different depending on how they are prepared.
I made cherry jam last summer and I plan to do the same again this year. I’ll go sit out back (so the juice doesn’t make my kitchen look like a crime scene) and pit cherries all afternoon.
If I still had more of that jam, it would have been a beautiful filling for these pastries. But these are also great with this fresh cherry variation. It’s still pretty darn good.
I added a little bit of pomegranate molasses to my filling. Have you ever tried it? It’s a jewel in the kitchen. Tart and thick, it’s made from reducing pomegranate juice, sugar, and a little lemon juice into a syrup. If you don’t have it, however, the filling will still taste delicious.
How to make this high altitude recipe:
Cherry Turnovers (adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet)
- Cream Cheese Pastry:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 stick (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½″ pieces
- 1 package (8 oz) cold cream cheese, cut into 9 pieces
- Cherry Filling:
- 12 oz fresh sweet cherries
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- For the cream cheese pastry: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 10 seconds to blend.
- Add the cold butter pieces and process for 8-10 seconds until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- Add the cream cheese and pulse until large, shaggy clumps of dough form.
- Turn the shaggy mass out onto a work surface and knead gently 2-3 times to create a cohesive dough.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- For the cherry filling: Wash, pit, and quarter the cherries.
- Combine the cherries with the brown sugar, cornstarch, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, and vanilla.
- To assemble: Preheat the over to 350 F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the cream cheese pastry into a 15 inch square. Use a ruler to mark 5″ increments along all the sides of the dough. Cut the dough into 9 squares.
- Divide the cherry mixture among the squares, keeping it on one half of the pastry.
- Brush the egg wash along the border of each turner and carefully fold over. Press the dough with the tines of a fork to seal the turnovers.
- Transfer the turnovers to parchment lined baking sheets and chill for 20 minutes before baking.
- Right before baking, brush the top of each turnover with a thin coating of egg wash (combine the egg yolk and milk or cream) and sprinkle with sugar.
- Use the tip of a paring knife to allow steam to escape during baking. Bake the turnovers for about 15 minutes, until the edges are a light golden brown.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. After a day, they will soften, which is exactly how I like them.
Note: This recipe and directions are adjusted for high altitude baking. To bake at sea level, you may need more flour for the cream cheese pastry and a longer baking duration for the assembled turnovers.