Friday, April 20, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Turnovers

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.

Bench notes:
- 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

Pastry Dough
2 C flour
1 T sugar
1/4 t salt
6 oz cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 C cold water

Blueberry Filling
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.


Redd H from Salted Spoon said...

These will be perfect for my little birthday shindig next week! I was looking for an excuse to make more ricotta. Such a great looking recipe. Thanks so much!

Matt @ RecipeLion said...

This recipe looks great! I would love it if you linked up this post to my blog hop for a chance to win a cookbook prize package:

Victoria said...


First, your site looks great, and, second, I can actually get not only blueberries, but very good blueberries.


pastry studio said...

Redd, lots of good wishes for you and your perfect little birthday shindig!

Thank you, Matt, and welcome.

Victoria, "phew" is about right. I had a real time this morning because Blogger also sprung their new posting interface today. So far, it's fairly glitchy and wouldn't format paragraphs or the recipe list at all until I switched browsers. This has been a terrible roll-out of their new system. I hope the dust settles soon because from my point of view, blogging should be a very fun activity, maximally enjoyable.

In any case, I hope you locate some stunning blueberries!

Elly McCausland said...

Gorgeous! I love turnovers, apple ones were one of the first things I ever learned to bake. Blueberries and flaky pastry go so wonderfully together, so I can just imagine how delicious these are.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Beautiful recipe and great pastry tips. Ricotta is one of my favorite fillings, whether sweet or savory.

pastry studio said...

Elly, it's interesting that you mention turnover pastry dough as one of the first things you ever learned to bake. The same is true of me. A lot of people are terrified of doughs but I think they are one of the most satisfying things to practice.


Deb said...

Blueberry and ricotta filling with a tender pastry crust, sounds delightful! Strawberries are just coming into season now; blueberries will be later. But they are a family favorite and this is a recipe that would make them very happy!

concediu antalya said...

I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

pastry studio said...

concediu, you are welcome and thank you for your lovely feedback. I'm happy to hear your children are blueberry fans.