Although we’ve had our share of April showers, there’s been a respite of a few sunny days all in a row. And because sunny spring days always call out for some sort of fruit pastry, my ambition went straight to the thought of fruit turnovers when I saw these beautiful blueberries. And since I had some ricotta left over from making Baked Lemon Ricotta Doughnuts, I thought it would be perfect to make blueberry turnovers with that great lemon ricotta filling.
This dough is a great buttery pastry that crisps nicely and is pretty easy to work with once it’s been rested and chilled. The gooey blueberry filling just needs a quick and easy simmer on the stove with some sugar and lemon. I love the combination of blueberries and star anise, so I added a half-piece to the mix. The lemon ricotta filling is simply sweetened with sugar and brightened with a pop of lemon. It adds a nice creamy richness to the turnover.
If you happen to spot some blueberries in your market, don’t resist the temptation to celebrate spring with a delicious bite of fruit turnovers. They are the best indulgence, rain or shine.
- The butter and the water for the dough should be very cold.
- Use a fork to stir the water into the flour mixture. Keep stirring until the dough comes together in large clumps. Gather with your hands and place on a piece of plastic. Press the dough together and wrap tightly. Once the dough is mixed, handle it very little in order to avoid activating the gluten in the flour, which will toughen the pastry.
- If the dough seems too loose or doesn’t cohere, press the heel of your hand into it and push it against the work surface to smear it. Use a bench scraper or metal spatula to scrape up the smeared dough and fold it back on itself. Gather and shape into a disc. Wrap tightly and chill.
- I separate the dough into two packets to make it easier to handle when rolling out.
- Simmer the blueberries on low heat to preserve the full flavor of the fruit. If you don’t care for star anise, try cinnamon or omit the spice.
- I use a small cookie scoop to portion the fillings.
- Make the turnovers any size or shape you want. Just be sure to roll the dough out to a 1/8” thin sheet so it bakes thoroughly and evenly. Keep your eye on the baking time.
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Turnovers
Makes 9 turnovers
2 C flour
1 T sugar
1/4 t salt
6 oz cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 C cold water
1 C fresh blueberries
1 1/2 – 2 T sugar, to taste
1 T water
1/2 star anise
1/2 t cornstarch + 1/2 t cold water
1/2 t lemon juice
Lemon Ricotta Filling
4 oz ricotta
2 T sugar
1 t lemon juice, to taste
1 t lemon zest
1 egg yolk
1 oz (2 T) butter, melted
sugar, for sprinkling
To prepare the dough, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the small pieces of butter and toss them with your hands. Coat each piece of butter thoroughly with flour as well as your hands. Pinch each piece of butter flat between your fingers, working quickly so as not to warm the butter. Keep tossing the mixture to be sure each piece of butter is coated well with flour. Add the cold water and stir with a fork until the dough comes together in moist clumps. Press together and place on a work surface. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Gently pat each one into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill the dough at least 30 minutes.
To prepare the blueberry filling, place the blueberries in a saucepan. Add sugar, water and star anise. Simmer on low heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir into blueberries. Add the lemon juice. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes, stirring to keep from scorching. Remove the star anise and set aside to cool and thicken.
Stir together the ricotta, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Add the egg yolk and blend thoroughly. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
When you’re ready to roll out the dough, remove one packet from the refrigerator and rest on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper for a few minutes so it can soften enough to prevent cracking. Roll out the dough to a 9 1/4” x 12 1/4” rectangle, gently lifting and moving the dough after each roll and keeping the parchment and dough lightly floured as needed. Trim the edges and cut into nine 3” x 4” rectangles. Brush off any excess flour. Lift the parchment onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator.
Repeat with second packet of dough. Cut out steam vents on these nine pieces to form the top half of the turnovers. Chill the pastry thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the bottom half pastry rectangles from the refrigerator. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of lemon ricotta filling on each rectangle and spread evenly, leaving a border on all sides. Top with 2 tablespoons of blueberry filling. Brush the border of each rectangle with water.Remove remaining top half pastry rectangles from the refrigerator and place on top of filling. Use a fork to press and seal the edges.
Brush the turnovers with melted butter and dust with a light sprinkle of sugar. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the dough is crisp and browned and the fruit is bubbling.