Well, I really wanted to test out Quick Pastry, so I made some very interesting Apple Turnovers late last night. The recipe for the quick pastry itself was a combination from several books. But the turnovers came from Cooking Illustrated. Yes, I know… I use that book a lot. What can I say? It’s a good book.
Anyway, by far the most difficult part of this recipe is rolling the dough. Perhaps I’m missing something important, but I just can’t get a square when I start putting my pin to my “turned” dough. The recipe calls for a 15 by 20 inch rectangle at 1/8 inch thick. The best I could do was a very unevenly edged, squarish blob that ended up being a little thick in the middle (about 3/16). I know that a certain amount of unevenness is expected, but when I trimmed the edges to get a workable rectangle in which to obtain my 5 by 5 squares, I could only get six (two by three, not three by four).
Of course, I took the remaining dough and re-rolled it to give me a total of 11 pastries, but I’m sure that I lost much of the “flakiness” because it’s like adding several more turns to a dough that is already overmixed. It is quick pastry after all. I really do believe that the turnovers would have benefitted from the regular puff pastry. I could also see letting the dough soften just a bit to help with the rolling, but then you would have to worry about the butter softening. Hmmm… More experimentation is needed here.
The filling was interesting. The recipe calls for grated apples, and even though I was put off at first, the final result was acceptable in texture. The process of “squeezing out” the excess liquid proved a challenge both in technique (I ended up using a two tablespoon tea strainer) and in patience. There’s a cup and a half of sugar in there… You get unbelievably sticky, but I guess that’s all a part of making pastry.
The actual cooking was fine, and the end results are tasty, but not quite the shatter-in-your-mouth flakiness that you expect in an apple turnover. I found myself wishing for a filling that was a bit more pie-like, with more “syrup” to it, although the taste of apples was indeed crisp and delightful. It might be beneficial to use a little cinnamon in the filling to give it just a touch more spice.
So, success in that they met that late-night pastry pang, but I would definitely try the regular puff pastry the next time.