Thursday, June 29

I'm Berry Overwhelmed

Is it possible to have too many berries? To feel burdened by the amount of juicy little treasures that you find yourself in possession of? My excitement got the better of me at the farmer's market last weekend, and by mid week, I was in a tizzy trying to think of ways to use up my berry bowl.

Despite the fact that I feel like I've overindulged in desserts lately, I couldn't think of any better use for a great pile of berries than to throw them into a pie, so that they would meet their end in a much more respectable way than by mold and fruit flies upon my countertop.

I turned to several of my cookbooks looking for inspiration, but quickly decided on sticking to what is becoming my "go-to" bible for all things sweet and fruity. Ripe for Dessert, by David Lebovitz, is a beautiful book, filled with gloriously tempting recipes, all of which put fruit center-stage. I have tried several recipes from the book that I will absolutely make again and again; Apple and Pear Crisp with Polenta Topping and Grappa-Soaked Raisins, Absolute Best Brownies with Dried Cherries, and Peppery Chocolate Cherry Biscotti.

I decided on Boysenberry Turnovers. I've never made a turnover, but love the idea of a hand-held pie. My favorite local bakery, Ollie's, sets the standard in this category, and my I wanted to see if I could create something that would compete with their pastry-perfection. My turnovers were, well, "rustic" in appearance, but I'm certain that nothing more than a little practice would remedy the issue, and a closer eye on the directions....I folded my turnovers into a square shape, instead of the triangle that David intended.

I strayed from the recipe only in that I used a mixture of blackberries and raspberries for the filling, and used organic evaporated cane vanilla sugar. The turnovers were delicious, and I loved the strong presence of lemon in the filling, which really played off the sweet-tart flavor of the berries. The pastry had good flavor, but lacked the crispness that I was looking for, perhaps due to the addition of cream cheese in the dough, which was supposed to make it easier to roll out. I think next time around I would use my favorite pie crust recipe and see how the results differed. The leftover turnovers had definitely turned "soft" the next day, but I still polished one off with no problems. With some experimenting, I'd say this recipe is a keeper.

Berry Turnovers
Slightly adapted from Ripe for Dessert, by David Lebovitz

For Dough:
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and chilled
2 ounces cream cheese, also chilled
3 tablespoons ice water

The Filling:
2 1/4 cups berries
2 tablespoons sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk or heavy cream
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

To make the dough: Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. In the food processor, mix in the butter pieces until they're half their original size. Add the cream cheese in small pieces and contine to pulse until the pieces of butter are like small peas.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and sprinkle the ice water over. Gently mix in, just until the dough comes together, adding more water if necessary, only 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Wrap in plastic and shape into a thick, flat square. Refrigerate one hour or longer.

To bake the turnovers, position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet or nonstick baking mat with parchment (don't skip this! they make a mess!).

To make the filling: Toss the berries, sugar, lemon zest and flour together in a medium bowl.

Divide the dough into 4 even pieces. Only a lightly floured surface, roll each piece out into a 5 inch square (or as close as you can get to a square!). Place one quarter of the berry mixture in the center of each square of dough. Brush the inside edges of the pastry with water and fold the dough over the berries, enclosing the filling and create a triangular shaped turnover. Pinch or crimp the edges securely.

Beat together the egg yolk and the milk or cream, brush each turnover with the egg glaze, and sprinkle each one liberally with coarse sugar. Poke a slit in the top of each turnover with a sharp knife.

Place the turnovers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4


  1. Anonymous6:55 PM

    Can you ever have too many berries? I suppose it's possible, but I'd rather have too many than not enough. Your turnovers look great. I love the sprinkled sugar on the top and the little patches of purple hinting at the goodness hidden inside!

  2. Oh, Jess!

    These look lovely and delicious.

    And one can never have too many berries!


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