Apple Turnovers – handheld puff pastry pies baked with a cinnamon apple filling. Easy to make, the only question is: to fill with cream or not? There’s a case for both!!
If you have golden flaky puff pastry and it’s stuffed with warm cinnamon apple cubes in a syrupy caramel sauce, you can’t really go wrong whichever path you go down for serving. But – options are a good thing – because wouldn’t life be boring if we all liked the same thing? 🙂
So, today, you have a choice of Apple Turnovers two ways – classic plain or cream filled!
Classic, plain – Served warm, fresh out the oven. Dusted with a little ice sugar to make it pretty with cream for dunking. The latter is not something you see in ordinary apple turnover recipes. In my world, I say it’s strongly, strongly recommended! Serving without is kind of like eating Apple Crumble without ice cream. You get it. 😇
Cream filled! Ah, the classic Aussie Apple Turnover. Now, here’s the thing! It’s cold – you can’t serve it warm else the cream melts. So you do lose out a bit on flavour – because warm filling tastes better than cold. But, you can’t beat the sentiment and total impracticality of biting into a giant cream filled apple turnover! Yeah, it’s messy. And we love it.
WHICH ONE I PREFER – While I have a big soft spot for cream filled turnovers, these days I tend to serve warm turnovers with cream for dunking. Easier and faster, plus the turnovers are extra good when warm!
Ingredients in apple turnovers
Here’s what you need to make apple turnovers.
Apple turnover cinnamon filling
Apples – Granny Smith apples are my favourite apple option. Good balance of tartness with sweet, and they hold their shape. Most red apple varieties will break down more so you end up with a compote inside (which makes base soggy), and are sweeter. Also, not recommended to make this without pre-cooking apples, see post for more info.
Cornflour / cornstarch – This thickens the apple juices to make a syrup so it doesn’t soak the base of the puff pastry. Nobody likes a turnover with a soggy base!
Sugar – I use white sugar because I like to keep the syrup clearer. But brown sugar also works fine, and makes a slightly more caramely tasting syrup.
Cinnamon – For flavour! Cinnamon plus apple is like basil and tomato, bread and butter, cheese and crackers. 🙂
Vanilla – Also for flavour.
Pinch of salt – This just brings out the flavours of everything else. It doesn’t make it salty at all. Standard practice in sweet baking. 🙂
Butter puff pastry is tastier than oil based puff pastry. It’s a little more expensive because butter is more expensive than oil, but it really is tastier.
Size – Here in Australia, the most common way puff pastry is sold is in 25cm/10″ square sheets, frozen. There are some more premium brands sold in larger sheets that I use for special dishes like Beef Wellington. But for everyday purposes, I use the square ones which are handy for apple turnover because each sheet makes 4 nicely sized turnovers. 🙂
Egg – This is for sealing the turnovers and brushing the surface so it comes out of the oven lovely and golden.
I have things to say about the cream options for Apple Turnovers. Read on!
For the cream – you’ll need either:
Soft whipped cream for dunking the plain turnovers (as mentioned above, optional but strongly, strongly recommended!). You want to use soft whipped cream so it’s dunkable; or
Stabilised whipped cream OR stiff whipped cream for the cream filled turnovers. You know how light and airy regular whipped cream is? Well, if you use that in apple turnovers, the cream will literally just squirt out completely with the first bite.
So I recommend using stabilised whipped cream because it tastes like regular whipped cream but it’s stabilised so it doesn’t squirt out everywhere with the first bite. Plus the cream filled turnovers will last in the fridge for 24 – 36 hours without the cream melting and deflating. It’s really easy to make – just cream and mascarpone whipped together. Get the recipe here!
However, ordinary whipped cream tastes totally fine too. Just beat it so it’s stiff and pip-able. It will squirt out with the first bite. But that’s ok! Just mop it up!
How to make apple turnovers
Some recipes will skip cooking the apple filling on the stove. Tempting, I know. But it does make the base more soggy because the apple leeches more juices. Also, the apple pieces cook unevenly. It really is worth cooking the filling first!
Apple turnover filling
Cornflour / cornstarch – Put the apples in a large saucepan and toss with the cornflour / cornstarch. Tip: large saucepan is better because the apple juices evaporate faster so you get a thicker caramel coating on the apples. Small saucepan = more watery sauce.
Mix – Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt then mix to coat.
Cook for 5 minutes on medium (or medium high on weaker stoves) until the apples are softened but still holding their shape. The sauce should thicken into a syrup.
Cool – Spread the filling onto a plate and let it cool completely. Don’t use a bowl, it makes the apples sweat more and thins the sauce.
Making the apple turnovers
TIP: Use puff pastry when it is barely thawed. Much easier to handle! Overly soft puff pastry gets floppy and sticky, and is a total pain to handle. If your puff pastry softens too much, just stick it back in the freezer for a bit.
Cut the barely thawed puff pastry into 4 equal pieces (12.5cm / 5″ squares).
Egg – Brush two sides of the pastry with the whisked egg.
Filling – Place 2 tablespoons of filling on the egg brushed side. Avoid the apple sauce, it will make the base too soggy and if it leaks onto the edge where you brushed the egg, it will prevent it from sealing properly.
Fold the puff pastry over to cover the filling.
5. Seal the edges using a fork dipped in flour (prevents it from sticking to the puff pastry). By pressing down firmly and crimping the edge, it seals it well.
6. Refrigerate – As you complete each turnover, place them on a cutting board lined with paper. Then refrigerate for 20 minutes – this makes the turnovers puff up better. (PS Don’t chill the turnovers on a baking tray, it will compromise how well the base cooks because the cold tray takes time to heat up).
7. Egg wash and prick – Slide the sheet of paper with the turnovers on them onto a large baking tray. Brush with whisked egg (makes them nice and golden), then prick the surface 3 times with a small knife. Steam escape holes – reduces risk of the filling leaking out of the seams.
8. Bake for 25 minutes at 200°C/400°F (180°C fan-forced), or until the turnovers are golden. And they’re done! So now, eating options: plain, or cream filled!
How to serve plain apple turnovers (the easy option for impatient people 🙋🏻♀️)
If you are not making cream filled apple turnovers, they really are best served warm. I personally like to dust with icing sugar / powdered sugar to make them look pretty. And I really like to serve with cream for dunking! Warm apple turnovers with lightly sweetened whipped cream is a match made in heaven.
Making cream filled apple turnovers
To make cream filled apple turnovers, once the turnovers are cool enough to handle, use a small knife to cut the seams. Open it up and set aside until the inside is fully cool – else the cream will melt.
When ready to assemble, whip the stabilised cream (read above for why I recommend that) or make regular whipped cream but beat until stiff so it’s pip-able. Then pipe it inside!
So, there you go! I did not expect to write so much about the humble apple turnover. I actually decided to publish this recipe today thinking it’s a nice easy one.
Then of course, I go and make things more complicated by offering the recipe two different ways. Which sounds simple enough, then I get to the end of the post and am rather alarmed at how much I’ve written.
But – it’s a really simple recipe, I swear! 😂 Hope you give it a go. Let me know what you think if you do – and whether you dunk or fill with cream. – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Apple turnovers – with cream filled option!
Apple turnover filling:
- 4 Granny Smith apples , peeled, diced into 1.25cm cubes, 6 cups (Note 1)
- 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch (thickens sauce)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 2 square puff pastry sheets (25 cm/10"), butter best (Note 3)
- 1 egg , whisked
Cream filled version:
- 2 batches Stabilised whipped cream OR stiff whipped cream (Note 3)
Optional serving extras:
- 1 batch Whipped cream for dunking – for easy option (Note 4)
- Icing sugar / powdered sugar , for dusting (optional)
- Filling – Put apples in a large saucepan. Toss with cornflour. Add everything else. Cook on medium to medium-high heat, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. Apple should be softened but not mushy or losing shape, with some but not too much caramel.
- Cool – Spread the filling on a large plate then let it fully cool. (Note 5)
- Line a large cutting board or upside down tray with baking/parchment paper.
- Make turnovers – Working one puff pastry sheet at a time, barely thawed, cut into 4 squares (12.5cm/5"). Brush 2 sides with egg, then pile filling on the egg brushed side. Avoid using sauce, soaks base and if it leaks onto edge it will not seal. (Save leftover sauce & apple for pancakes, french toast, ice cream etc!)
- Wrap – Fold over, seal with fork dipped in flour (prevents sticking to pastry). Transfer to paper lined cutting board.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes (cold = better puffing).
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan).
- Bake 25 min – Slide the paper with the turnovers on it onto a large baking tray. (Note 6 for why) Brush turnovers with egg. Stab 3 times. Bake 25 minutes or until golden.
- Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and whipped cream for dunking.
Cream filled option
- Transfer turnovers to a cooling rack. Fully cool. Split seam side open with knife. Pipe in cream. EAT!
I have a thing for baking with apples…
Life of Dozer
I shouldn’t do this – do you remember what happened the last time I teased him with dessert I have no intention of sharing with him? See below.
Yep, Dozer had the last laugh!