Saturday, September 20, 2008

Apple Turnovers

Apple turnovers or chaussons aux pommes in French, are found along with croissants and pains au chocolats (among other things) in French bakeries. If you enter a boulangerie early in the morning, when everything is still warm out of the oven, the heavenly scent of freshly baked everything is enough to put you in an olfactive coma.

When I am back home, my Mom sometimes welcomes us at breakfast, with a fresh baguette and croissants on the table. Croissants are certainly not the most nutritious breakfast item, but they’re pretty hard to resist when you live far away from home like me and you visit once or twice a year - and they're pretty hard to resist period. So let the feast begin! I warm up some milk in the microwave, take my favorite bowls out, scoop out some chicory coffee. The powdered chicory coffee dissolves into the warm milk, turning it into a beautiful cafĂ© au lait color. Its smell, sweet, powerful and invigorating always wakes up my appetite. I squeeze an orange (my parents always squeeze fresh oranges every day for breakfast). Butter and jams (and occasionally Nutella) have been left out on the table after my parents' early breakfast. France Info – a French radio station- plays in the background. Nothing makes me feel more at home than this moment.

We do not typically eat apple turnovers for breakfast in France, even though, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with that! I would say that they’re more of a snack food. I remember sometimes sharing one with my Mom if we were shopping in the afternoon.
Chausson aux pommes, which literally translates with “apple shoe”, are so easy to make (much more than croissants and pains au chocolat). I buy store bought puff pastry, a few apples and a lemon, and you're on your way to "yummy land". What makes a good apple turnover to me is how puffy and flaky it is. I like to use Granny Smith apples, to bring a little tartness to the applesauce.

Chaussons aux Pommes

4 apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 lemon
the juice of 1/2 an orange
1 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp butter
Puff pastry dough (store bought)
1 egg + 1 tbsp milk (for the egg wash)

Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Prepare a bowl of cold water with the juice of the lemon. Drop the lemon in the water.

Peel and core the apples one by one and place in the water. When you're ready to dice them, dry them quickly on a paper towel, dice and place in a bowl. I cut small dices.

Pour the orange juice and the zest, stir and add the sugar and cornstarch. Mix together.

Let's make the applesauce! In a pan, heat up the butter and add the apples. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until soft and the consistency of applesauce. I use a potato masher at the end to make sure my applesauce does not have big chunks of applesauce. If you like your applesauce to have chunks, then skip this step.

Allow the applesauce to cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, roll out the dough just a tad, to make sure it's not too thick. Cut out 4 inches circles (I used a bowl as a guide) and place on a parchment paper covered sheet pan. Reserve in the fridge while the applesauce cools down (it's important that the puff pastry stays cold).

Place about 1 tablespoon of applesauce (or just enough so you can seal the circles) on one half of each circle. Brush one half of each circles with the egg wash and fold over the applesauce and press the edges together with your fingers or a fork. Make sure it is well sealed. Score small lines with a knife and poke one small slit on top of each. Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle some sugar and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve lukewarm or at room temperature.


mcsteans said...

The best breakfasts I ever had in my life were the two days we were in Paris when I was 10. Hot chocolate and croissants. Never since then have I come across a pastry or beverage so delicious.

Your turnovers look mighty tasty :)

Laetitia said...

We should totally organize a French breakfast. Hot chocolate and croissants are the best. Through some Nutella in there too.

Anonymous said...

Just bought all the ingredients [apples mainly] and I am ready to try your recipe tomorrow! Can't wait! I love les chaussons aux pommes, probably one of my favourite patisseries after pain au chocolat!