Thursday, August 18, 2011

Apple Turnover Squares: A Comedy in 3 Acts

A comedy in 3 acts, because despite 2 instances of tragedy, the outcome, while not aesthetically beautiful, quite tasty warm, room temp, or cold. This recipe comes with apologies to both The French Culinary Institute and pastry chef Melissa Murphy.
This recipe is very heavily borrowed from a caramel apple turnover recipe in The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine from the French Culinary Institute. It's quite the tome. It weighs 6lbs (I weighed it).

I call this a comedy in 3 acts because, as mentioned above, there were 2 tragedies, but the outcome was yummy. Tragedy 1) I burned the caramel sauce. It went from colorless, odorless sugar water, to a split second of divine golden sauce with a sweet aroma, to an acrid, burned mess. 2) Caramel sauce 2.0 oozed all over the baking sheet, burning in the oven (see below). However, the result was tasty, see below.

Apple Turnover Squares (serves about 8)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 Tbs amaretto liquer
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • cinnamon
  • sugar
  • lemon juice 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the ricotta, confectioner's sugar, amaretto, and salt together. Spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture across the puff pastry, leaving a 1 inch perimeter around the pastry.
2. Over a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the 1/4 C sugar and 2 Tbs water and cook over medium heat for about 10 mins, stirring frequently. Cook til golden brown, don't allow to burn. If you try a couple times and burn it, sigh, and have some commercial caramel sauce on hand.
3. Let cool slightly. Pour the caramel sauce over the ricotta mixture. 
4. Peel the apple and cut into thin slices. Arrange over the top of the caramel, allow the apple slices to overlap slightly.
5. Melt a Tbs of butter. Slightly brush the butter on the outer perimeter of the puff pastry. Save the remaining butter, and add to it a splash of lemon juice, a heaping tsp of sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pour mixture over apples. 
6. Bake for about 15 minutes on a lightly greased cookie sheet or until golden brown. 

                              Can you see all the burned caramel sauce?

Verdict? Pretty good stuff. A few things to keep in mind for the next attempt. The ricotta cream is fantastic stuff by itself, and makes a nice alternative to whipped cream. However, the ricotta dries out a bit in the oven. The caramel sauce would likely be superior with a bit of butter and vanilla extract. Caramel can be fickle, so there's no problem if you can find a good quality caramel that's premade. This recipe is fairly forgiven for a baked product.

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