Our friends gave us cherries from their tree a few days ago, inspiring this delicious recipe. Fresh, local produce is the highlight of summer for me—I love the idea of food that is only hours from the vine. I am not opposed to using canned fruit for recipes like this, especially if I do not have the time to pit, peel, or prepare fresh fruits. However, when I get the chance to have cherries picked at their peak, that is an easy “yes” regardless of the extra prep.
When you make a fruit filling at home you have more control over the consistency and sugar content. Fruit ripened on the tree requires less sugary syrup. By using less sugar and water in the recipe, you end up with more fruit and less filler. Even when I do use canned fruit, I use Comstock More Fruit Pie Filling and remove much of the syrup through a colander.
Any pie crust recipe or ready-made crust can be used in place of the butter crust. However, a butter crust has superior flavor and avoids the trans-fats of shortening used in most pie crust recipes and store-bought varieties. Butter crusts are a little more delicate to work with during the summer, requiring some refrigerator time to maintain its workability, but the extra effort is well worth it. For an even healthier alternative, this crust can also be adapted to use white whole wheat flour.
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Fresh Cherry Turnover Recipe
Yields 5 large turnovers
2 cups cherries—fresh, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Pie Crust: (2 crust pie recipe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar
4-5 tablespoons icy cold water
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 425°. In a saucepan, combine pitted cherries with the
water, sugar, cornstarch and almond extract. Over med-high heat, stir to combine and
bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 6-8 minutes, stirring
frequently, until thickened. Cool completely before using.
Mix flour, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Cut the cold butter with a knife into small cubes. Work the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry tool or work the butter through the fingertips until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl. Once the water is added it is important to not overwork the dough. Place the dough
in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to keep the butter in the dough from
becoming too warm.
Divide pastry in half allowing half to remain in the refrigerator to keep the butter cold. Roll half of the pastry dough onto a lightly floured surface to 1/8″ thickness. Cut circles of 6 inches in diameter. Using a pastry scraper or lasagna spatula, slide the scraper under the dough to release it from the counter (this will make folding it over the filling easier). Repeat with remaining dough.
Spoon approximately 1/2 cup of the filling into the center of the circle of pastry; fold pastry dough over the filling and seal with a fork along the edges. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet leaving 2″ of space between each turnover. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
Prepare icing by mixing powdered sugar, milk, and extract until well blended; set aside until turnovers are cooled. Drizzle icing on the turnovers as desired. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream.
For an extra treat, use any pastry scraps by rolling them out and using a cookie cutter to make manageable pieces. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and bake for 5-8 minutes, watching it closely.
NOTE: For a wheat pastry, use King Arthur white whole wheat flour for half of the flour. For an extra treat, use pastry scraps by rolling them out and using a cookie cutter to make manageable pieces. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and bake for 5-8 minutes, watching it closely. *The photo depicts a wheat crust.