Friday, April 26, 2013

Sour Cream Pastry Turnovers

I made these for the second dinner party of the weekend. After the unexpected dinner party of Saturday night, my son and daughter-in-law called and said they would come to dinner on Sunday. Son had just gotten back from another European trip on behalf of the United States Government. Bob, my husband, had instructed him to bring back fancy chocolate from a specific chocolate shop so we were eagerly awaiting that.
I enjoy cooking, but spending the entire weekend cooking isn't that much fun. I kind of had trouble getting myself in gear. After church and lunch, I sat down with the Sunday papers. I don't know what it is about modern life. My parents got the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune and read most of them. My mother sat down with the Times crossword puzzle around 10:30 every Sunday, and usually had it finished before lunch. I'm lucky if I read a couple of stories off the front page.
Bob kept politely prompting me to start the pastry, since it was supposed to chill for two hours. Finally, around 3 o'clock, I got to work.
Now, pastry is not my thing. I can never get it to hang together. Before I started this cooking marathon, I just used to add way too much water, make it into a mushy mass and then piece it into a pie pan. Sometime before I started this cooking blogging thing, I read a statement in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in which Julia Child said, basically, follow the directions. Don't whine and fuss when things don't come out right, follow the directions. I have tried to take these words to heart.
As you can see by the ingredients, the directions say nothing about water. The pastry is supposed to hang together using no more moistening than half a cup of sour cream. Well, I mixed it all together, and what I got was what the cookbook authors call "coarse oatmeal."-flour with flaky bits of butter and flour mixed in.  I put an ice cube into a tablespoon of water, because pastry directions always say add a small about of cold water. I put the tablespoonful of water into the coarse oatmeal-like pastry dough and mixed. It was not noticeably more together. Just before I was about to add a quarter of a cup of cold water, I remembered Julia. Okay, I would try it without the water. Obviously it must be possible somehow.
I laid down two sheets of waxed paper to roll the dough out on, and dumped the snowy, fragmented pile of dough onto the sheets, and laid a second pair of waxed paper sheets on top. I then began to roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
It actually worked. It was not entirely what you might think of as dough. It was a little flaky around the edges, but in general, it hung together. I rolled it out into the 18-by-9 inch rectangle as instructed, wrapped it in aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator.
Two hours later, after washing the kitchen floor, which badly needed it, I went back to the pastry. I put down more waxed paper and started to roll it out. Now, I would advise cutting the refrigerated dough in half and rolling out each half individually. That way, the pastry chef would have space to roll the dough out to a thinner consistency.
My dough was too thick. The instructions say to make many small turnovers. I elected to make one large one per person. I put a small metal bowl on the dough, and cut around it with a knife. I ended up with five turnovers. Daughter-in-law got a second one. Some of the dough found its way into my mouth as well.
I filled the dough circles with the apple slices, sugar and cinnamon. Note that the apples do not have to be cooked. They cook inside the turnovers. They were well received, and I braved inflammation to eat one myself. I should have taken more care to seal the edges with a fork, but I didn't. There was a certain amount of leakage, but it was okay.

Sour Cream Pastry Turnovers

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tart green apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup butter

1. To prepare pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until mixture resembles course oatmeal. Mix in the sugar and sour cream.
2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured pastry cloth or board into an approximate 18-by-9-inch rectangle. Fold lengthwise into three. (What I interpret this to mean is, fold it like a business letter going into a business envelope.) Wrap in aluminum foil and chill two hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. To prepare filling, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon and toss with the apples.
5. Roll out the chilled pastry to one-eighth-inch-thickness on a lightly floured pastry cloth or board. (Or use waxed paper.) Cut into four-and-one-half-inch rounds.
6. Place a tablespoon or two of apple mixture in the middle of each round. Dot with the butter. Moisten the edges of each round, fold over and pinch with a fork to seal.
7. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake twenty minutes, or until golden and done. Makes one dozen to fourteen.

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