Cherry Turnovers

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)

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cherry Turnovers
Recipe type: High Altitude
  • 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
  • Assembly:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  1. 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.
  2. Add the cold butter pieces and process for 8-10 seconds until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add the cream cheese and pulse until large, shaggy clumps of dough form.
  4. Turn the shaggy mass out onto a work surface and knead gently 2-3 times to create a cohesive dough.
  5. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. For the cherry filling: Wash, pit, and quarter the cherries.
  7. Combine the cherries with the brown sugar, cornstarch, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  8. To assemble: Preheat the over to 350 F.
  9. 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.
  10. Divide the cherry mixture among the squares, keeping it on one half of the pastry.
  11. 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.
  12. Transfer the turnovers to parchment lined baking sheets and chill for 20 minutes before baking.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

About the author

Chef Megan Joy

Kimbra - March 13, 2013

Thank you so much for sharing your high altitude recipes! I live in Colorado as well and just recently realized that high altitude has been to blame for most of my baking bombs. Now that I know the secret, I’ve been baking like crazy (and being successful). I used your turnover recipe (with a pear filling instead) last night, and they turned out great! They aren’t nearly as pretty as yours, but they are flaky and delicious. I’m excited to try some of your other recipes soon. Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

    Chef Megan Joy - March 19, 2013

    Kimbra- I’m pleased to hear your baking is getting better. Once you get the hang of high altitude baking, it’s nice to have some kitchen successes again! Thanks for visiting HAB!

Ramee Hyde - April 15, 2013

I have year round access to organic pitted frozen cherries and usually have other frozen fruit in my freezer at all times. Would I be able to sub frozen fruit for the fresh? If so, how would I alter your recipe?

    Chef Megan Joy - April 15, 2013

    Ramee- You can certainly use frozen fruit. I would thaw the fruit and drain it, then add a little more sugar (maybe 2 tablespoons?) and more cornstarch (start with 1-2 teaspoons more) to the filling. Bake as directed, keeping in mind that it may take a few minutes longer if the fruit is still really cold. The frozen fruit may have more water in it and you’ll have to experiment and see what amount of cornstarch (or flour) creates a filling that isn’t too runny.

Maranda - June 10, 2014

Hello. This looks like the best recipe I’ve seen and definitely wanna try it but I live in Ky. So how would I adjust this recipe, if necessary?

    Chef Megan Joy - June 10, 2014

    Hi Maranda, most recipes on HAB have the sea level baking adjustments listed at the very bottom of the post. To make this recipe at sea level, you may need more flour for the cream cheese pastry and a longer baking duration for the assembled turnovers. Happy baking!

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