History of Turnovers

The concept of wrapping fillings in pastry dough dates back to ancient civilizations. Civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans are known to have enjoyed stuffed pastries, which evolved over time into the turnovers we know today. These pastries were often made with a variety of fillings, including meats, cheeses, and fruits. However, the first written-down recipe of an apple turnover or "Chausson aux Pommes" is said to have originated in the French village of St. Calais in the early 1700s, when an epidemic plagued the village. The lady of the village allegedly gave the villagers flour and apples in an attempt to rescue her village from dying, and the apple turnover was born. Interestingly, the town of St. Calais has an annual festival called "fete du chausson aux pommes" where there is an abundance of apple turnovers made in the streets.

Cultural Diversity and Adaptations: The turnover's versatility and appeal have led to its adoption and adaptation in various cultures around the world:

  1. Samosas (India): The Indian samosa is a well-known variation of the turnover. These triangular pastries are typically filled with spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes meat. Samosas are popular street food and party snacks in India and have gained international recognition.
  2. Dim Sum (China): Chinese cuisine features a variety of dumplings, including turnovers known as dim sum. These can be filled with meat, seafood, vegetables, or sweet ingredients like red bean paste. Dim sum is an integral part of Chinese culinary culture.
  3. Empanadas (Spain and Latin America): Empanadas are another variation of the turnover found in Spanish and Latin American cuisines. These are savory or sweet pastries that can be baked or fried and are filled with an array of ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables, and fruits. Try our Dulce Delicious Apple Empanadas recipe here!

Versatility: Turnovers offer a delightful range of flavors and textures, making them suitable for various occasions and meal times:

  • Dessert: Sweet turnovers, especially those filled with fruits, are a popular dessert choice. The combination of flaky pastry and luscious fillings creates a satisfying treat. Try our Blueberry Turnovers with Lemon Glaze recipe here
  • Breakfast: The portable nature of turnovers makes them a convenient breakfast option. Fruit-filled turnovers provide a balance of sweetness to start the day.
  • Snacks: Smaller turnovers can serve as convenient, on-the-go snacks, offering a quick bite of both pastry and filling.
  • Meals: Larger turnovers, often with savory fillings, can serve as a substantial meal. These can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner, offering a hearty combination of flavors.

How to Make a Baked Fruit Turnover

Though you can use other kinds of pastry dough like a sheet of pie crust for your turnovers, the most popular and preferred method uses flaky puff pastry dough. Store-bought puff pastry is typically widely available in most grocery stores (check the frozen aisle!) but you are welcome to attempt your own scratch-made puff pastry dough if you are ambitious and have a good amount of time before needing your turnovers to be ready.


First, decide on the taste and ingredients you want for your turnover. Is it sweet with baked fruit or is it savory with meat and cheese? Here, we're going to focus on the classic baked fruit turnover- which is typically a diced fruit combined with sugar, spices, all-purpose flour, and sometimes nuts.

1. If using a frozen puff pastry, you'll want to thaw your sheets of puff pastry according to the instructions on the packaging. Try to avoid thawing your puff pastry in the microwave so the butter in the pastry doesn't melt and throw off the flakiness of the pastry in the oven.


2. For your filling, first dice your fruit (unless using berries) and try combining your choice fruit with brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, a pinch of salt, a little bit of flour (to hold the mixture together), lemon juice, vanilla extract, and chopped nuts. You can either heat your filling in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove or just combine in a medium-sized bowl.


3. Place your puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter or cutting board. Cut your puff pastry into four equal squares.


4. Carefully place a spoonful of your filling just slightly off-center in the middle of your pastry square. Be careful to not add too much filling, as it may spill out as you flood over the dough. Make sure to leave about an inch of space between the filling and the dough.


5. Fold your squares across from diagonal corners. Use a fork to gently press down the sides of the puff pastry where the dough meets to seal it together.

6. [Optional step] Using a small sharp knife, cut 2-3 small slits into the top middle of your hand pies.

Pro Tip: To prevent filling from leaking out of your pastry in the oven, stick your turnovers in the freezer or refrigerator for 20 minutes!


7. Now it's time to transfer your turnovers to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush a light layer of your egg wash on top of each pastry so that it covers the top of your pastry. This will help your fruit turnover to turn golden brown in the oven. Sprinkle a bit of sugar atop each turnover before sliding them into the oven to bake!

8. Once turnovers are golden brown, take them out of the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.


9. While your pastries are cooling, consider making a glaze to drizzle on top of your turnovers. Glazes are super simple to make; all you need is powdered sugar, vanilla extract, a bit of water or milk, and a little bit of jam or preserves if you would like a flavored glaze. Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth, adding about a tablespoon of milk or water until glaze coats the back of a spoon. Once the turnovers are cooled to being just slightly warm, you can drizzle your glaze on top and you're off to enjoy the sweet, flaky, deliciousness!

Feel free to savor this delectable treat warm or at room temperature. These turnovers are incredible when enjoyed on their own, or alongside a scoop of velvety vanilla ice cream. You can store your pastries carefully covered in aluminum foil or plastic wrap on the counter or in the fridge for up to 3 days!

Ready to dive in? Try our Pear Turnovers with Plum Drizzle recipe here!