This is the season for cranberries. Bright red, full of acidity and pectin, they make beautiful company with other fruit. In pastry, you often see them paired with the more subtle flavors of apple and pear.
This is an apple cranberry combination in the very simple form of a turnover. Cranberries add a beautiful bright tartness. There's also a bit of orange zest and cinnamon to round things out. I really love this fruit pairing.
I prefer making free-form pastries and galettes because I think the crust crisps up so nicely and I like the rustic appearance. The pastry here is very tender and flaky. It's pretty easy to handle and makes a really delicious encasement for the fruit. This is one of my favorite pastries of the season.
- The pastry dough and cranberry filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
- The secret to rolling out pastry dough is to make sure it’s chilled properly. Too cold and it cracks and splits. Too warm and it softens and tears. As you begin to roll it out, if there’s resistance and cracking, let it warm up for another minute or so. If it starts to feel too soft as you lift and turn it, chill it again until firm enough to handle easily. Use a light dusting of flour as you go and lift it after each turn to make sure it isn’t sticking.
- The cranberry filling will thicken as it cools. Stir to loosen before spreading it over the pastry.
- I use Fuji apples, which have a natural sweetness.
- I don’t use a lot of sugar in this pastry because I really want to taste the fruit. If you prefer, add more sugar to each of the fillings.
- I add the sugar to the apples just before I’m ready to place them in the turnover. Avoid letting them sit in sugar too long or you’ll have juices running everywhere as you place them on the pastry.
- If you want a glossy finish, instead of melted butter, use an egg wash: mix 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water. Brush the tart lightly and evenly with the wash. You won’t use all of it.
- The turnover needs to cool thoroughly so the juices have a chance to set up.
- Another seasonal pastry to try: Winter Fruit Crisp with apples, pears, dates and dried cranberries.
Apple Cranberry Turnover
1 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (9 1/2 oz) flour
2 tablespoons (26 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup (2.6 oz) cold water
2 cups (8 oz) fresh cranberries
1/4 cup (2 oz) water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (2 3/4 oz) sugar
1/4 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
zest of 1/2 orange
2 large (about 1 lb) apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons (39 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted, for glazing
1/2 tablespoon (6 grams) sugar, for dusting
For the pastry dough, cut the cold butter into 1/2” cubes. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and blend. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until they resemble pieces the size of oatmeal. Add 1/3 cup ice water and pulse until the dough looks a bit like cottage cheese. The dough should be soft, pliable and will just hold together when you press a clump between your fingers. Be careful not to overmix. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a disc. Wrap tightly and chill thoroughly.
For the cranberry filling, place the cranberries, water, sugar, 1/4 vanilla bean, cinnamon and orange zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to blend all the ingredients. Lower the heat and cook, stirring periodically to avoid scorching, until the mixture becomes jammy and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean piece. Pour into a container and chill until ready to use.
Let the chilled dough rest on a lightly floured piece of parchment or a silpat for a few minutes so it can soften just a bit to prevent cracking. Then roll the dough out to about 16” x 10” rectangle, lifting the dough and keeping the parchment or silpat lightly floured as needed. When you have the desired rectangle shape, trim the edges. Lift and slide the parchment or silpat with the pastry onto a baking sheet pan. Chill while you prepare the apples.
Place the lemon juice in a bowl big enough to hold the sliced apples. Peel and core the apples. Slice them fairly thin and toss them in the lemon juice as you go to prevent browning. Add sugar and cinnamon and toss thoroughly.
Take the rolled out dough from the refrigerator and leave it on the baking sheet. Place it in front of you so the long side is closest to you. Make a slight mark at the halfway point on the long side so you know where the fold will be. Spread the cranberry filling evenly on half the rectangle, leaving a 3/4” border along the 3 sides. Place rows of sliced apples (about 3 slices across) on top of the cranberry. Brush the apples with melted butter.
Brush the borders of the dough with water. Fold the other half of the rectangle over the apples and press the edges to seal. Turn up the edges to make a border and press with the tines of a fork to seal. Chill the formed turnover until the oven is ready.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut 8 air vents across the top of the pastry. Brush the turnover with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until the crust is browned and the fruit is bubbling, about 35 – 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.