If any of you are like me, February–often cold and gray in Texas–seems like the longest, not the shortest, month. This is the time of year I like to curl up in my toasty bed for a couple of extra minutes of shut-eye.
One thing that can lure me from my flannel-sheeted cocoon on a gray, gloomy day is the smell of breakfast. I like making breakfast in the oven in the winter because it warms up not only the stomach, but the kitchen as well.
I’ll have to admit to a certain weakness for pastries. One delicious recipe I found recently would be perfect served warm on a winter morning.
The recipe for Apple-Filled Turnovers comes from the Culinary Institute of America Cookbook (Lebhar-Friedman Books, 2008). The CIA, as it is known, is an organization devoted to raising the bar for home cooks and professionals alike.
The book is filled with recipes both basic and exotic from chefs across the country. It also includes loads of advice and photos illustrating essentials that everyone–from the most accomplished cook to a rank amateur–would find educational.
1 1/2 pounds frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons cream or milk
1 1/2 cups Apple Filling
1 cup Apricot Glaze
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out dough into 12×16-inch rectangle. Dust dough and rolling pin with flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking. Cut dough into 12 4-inch squares. Place squares on prepared baking sheet and let chill in refrigerator until firm, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from refrigerator. Brush squares with wash made by whisking together egg and cream or milk. Place 2 tablespoons of Apple Filling in center of each and fold opposite corners together to form triangle. Press edges firmly together to seal. Chill turnovers 10 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush turnovers with egg wash. Cut slit in center of each turnover to vent steam. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks and brush with Apricot Glaze before they cool. Cool completely before serving.
1/4 cup applejack or apple-flavored brandy
1/4 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons currants
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Combine applejack or brandy and apple juice in small bowl and set aside. Heat saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Toss sliced apples with sugar. Add about a third of sugared apples and saute until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer apples to bowl. Add third of apple juice mixture to pan and stir to loosen sugar stuck in pan. Allow to simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, about 30 seconds. Pour over sauteed apples. Saute remaining apples in two additional batches as above. When adding final batch of apple juice mixture to pan, stir in remaining ingredients. Add mixture to bowl and stir gently until currants are evenly distributed.
Put filling in bowl set in ice bath and cool, stirring occasionally. Once cooled, it can be kept in covered container in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Warm slightly before using.
3/4 cup apricot jam
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup brandy
Combine all in saucepan and bring to boil over high heat, stirring until jam is completely melted. Strain through wire-mesh sieve into bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. This can be kept up to 3 weeks in refrigerator. Warm slightly before using.
Serving size: 1 turnover. Per serving: 260 calories, 0.8 g protein, 6.2 g fat, 44.7 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g fiber, 40 mg sodium, trace cholesterol.