Let me pinpoint for you the moment I knew I wasn’t cut out for office jobs.
It was the summer of 2003 and I was working as a part-time receptionist at a doctor’s office between high school graduation and starting college. I was on my way to the office one early morning and decided on a whim to stop at the Blue Bonnet Bakery (of gingerbread man and florentine fame) and pick up some treats for my coworkers. You know, the sort of nice thing that you do every once in a while to brighten the mood.
Out of all the pastries they had on display that morning, I decided to go with cherry turnovers—pockets of ultra-flaky pastry filled with cherry pie filling. Everyone at the office loved having a treat around so much that that one act started a trend. Everyday after that, somebody brought something to share. One day it was Seven Layer Dip, another was Chipped Beef (which I have never had before or since). The doctor and his wife/office manager would bring in doughnuts or fresh figs from their own trees. I even brought in my mom’s Ham Salad once. (Sounds weird, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it.)
Long story short, by the end of the summer, I knew once and for all that while I liked my coworkers, I did not care about office work at all. AT. ALL. Bored me senseless. But I did care about trying new recipes and food as a social experience.
It would be almost ten more years before I learned to bake from scratch, but in that time I learned to cook, wrote my first recipes, dreamed about owning a neighborhood restaurant, and gathered friends into tiny New York apartments to share late-night dinners. I had a few more office jobs too, and I can say now that I spent most of those work days reading food blogs and surfing a then-newfangled thing called Pinterest in search of recipe inspiration.
But it all goes back to that impromptu stop at Blue Bonnet Bakery. That was the catalyst for the chain of events that lead me to where I am right now. It just took another decade or so and a lot of professional misadventures to manifest itself into E2 Bakes and being that person who always has cookies. #crazycookielady
And so, here I am on the first day of June 2018–fifteen years after my first office job—writing on my very own food blog about the Sweet Cherry Turnovers that I made in my kitchen this week. They’re made with my shatteringly crisp rough puff pastry and a tried-and-true sweet cherry filling, and they’re topped with a sweet vanilla glaze. They’re basically the very best kind of hand pie.
Heck, if you’re lucky, they might even change your life.
Sweet Cherry Turnovers
makes 6 large turnovers
1 lb fresh whole sweet cherries, pitted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Rough Puff Pastry:*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cold water
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5-6 teaspoons milk
Cherry Filling and Pastry Dough may be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.
Make the Cherry Filling. Combine pitted whole sweet cherries, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until cherries are starting to release liquid. Remove from heat and stir in optional almond extract and butter. Let filling cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.
Make the tart. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment.
Make egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork.
Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Slice into 6 squares.
Working with one square at a time, roll it into a 5-inch square. Place 2 tablespoons of cherry filling in the center, leaving behind any excess liquid. Paint two edges of each turnover with egg wash. Fold dough into half to seal. Use a fork to crimp the edge. Remove to prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough and filling, chilling for 15 minutes if dough becomes sticky or difficult with which to work.
Chill pan of turnovers for 10 minutes. Cut vents in each turnover. Brush all exposed pastry with egg wash. Bake 25-27 minutes or until golden. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
Make glaze. Combine confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and 5 teaspoons milk in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. For a thinner glaze, add 1 more teaspoon milk. Drizzle over cooled turnovers. Glaze should set after 20 minutes.
Turnovers are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Pastry will soften over time.
If you do not wish to make the Rough Puff Pastry, you may use one sheet of frozen all-butter puff pastry that you have thawed according to package directions.