breakfast of champions

Last night, I dreamed I had been interviewed by a very friendly student at a graduate program and woke up feeling quite relieved. Then I realized the telephone interview had not yet taken place, and that it would certainly not be conducted by a jovial colleague only three years my senior. So I spent the morning rereading past essays and exhibition catalogs, reviewing college notes, and jotting down answers to potential questions, from the likely (“Why grad school? Why art history?”) to the slightly further out (the infamous “What is your greatest weakness?”).

Of course, because these are the questions I prepared, I wasn’t asked any of them. That’s just the way the world works. Slightly tangential variations on them yes, but also one question that hadn’t even occurred to me and left me grasping wildly for recent museum exhibitions to discuss. (Yves Klein! Marina Abramovic! Chagall at the Art Institute! Sure, now they come easily.) (It’s okay, though, I mentioned a couple in my thank you email. Nothing if not tenacious here, people.)

Otherwise, though, I think the chat went quite smoothly. I think I kept my manic nervous giggle thing to a minimum, a blessing for the both of us. And I talked about a Hans Grundig painting at LACMA and my interest in provenance research and Nazi looting, and probably, you know, not everyone can pontificate chat what something approaching knowledge about those things. So there’s that.

But you want to hear about these turnovers, don’t you? First of all, I am sad to report that they are not what I had for breakfast this morning. (That would be fruit. Law prom’s this weekend, you know, and puff pastry midweek isn’t exactly the wisest choice for me. The beginning of the week is, of course, a different foxhunt altogether.) (Name that TV show!) This is what I made for the morning of Valentine’s Day.

I hate when people say a complicated (at least, complicated-looking) dish just “fell together,” but I promise that this one did. I had some leftover dough from the rolling out the quiche crust and I had some unused puff pastry and cranberries hanging around the freezer. From there, I just had to buy a couple apples, slice an orange and dig the cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg out of my pantry. I filled and sealed the turnovers on Sunday, refrigerated them overnight, and had only to bake them on Monday. They puffed up nice and golden (especially the puff pastry; who knew!?) and the piping hot filling was sticky and rich, sweet with a tart edge. Hey, it’s breakfast: it couldn’t be a total apple pie rip-off.

Apple-Cranberry Turnovers
(Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa, who serves them as dessert and is erroneously overlooking their beautiful function as breakfast food)

For 8 turnovers

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/4 pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith (about 3 apples)
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 handful fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg, beaten

Combine the orange juice and zest in a bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples, then cut into bite-sized pieces, less than an inch all around. Immediately toss apples with the orange to prevent browning. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and toss well.

Flour your work surface and roll each puff pastry sheet to a 12″ by 12″ square. Turn the pastry frequently to prevent sticking. Cut each square into quarters and keep cool until ready to use.

Brush the edge of each square with the beaten egg (or, if you’re like me, forget this step) and spoon about 1/3 cup of apple mixture into the center of the square. Top with several cranberries. (N.B. I added them last because I didn’t want their juices to run and make the entire turnover super tart.) Fold the pastry diagonally, over the filling, and seal by pressing the edges with a fork. At this point, you can refrigerate them overnight, or even freeze them for longer than that.

To bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange turnovers on a baking sheet and brush tops with beaten egg. Sprinkle each with a couple teaspoons sugar and cut two small slits in the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Enjoy!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Lauren on February 28, 2011 at 12:13 am

    I made these this morning and they were delicious!!! 🙂


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