High Altitude Baking: Blueberry-lemon turnovers good for dessert, breakfast
High altitudes makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
Turnovers are tender, tasty, pretty and fun to prepare; they’re one of my favorite pastries. And, if you have some cream cheese in your ‘fridge and a pie crust in your freezer, you’re halfway to having them in the oven. These have a soft filling with the contrasting tastes of lemon and blueberries. They’re a good-enough-for-company dessert when served warm with blueberry sauce, and they’re welcome at breakfast and brunch as well.
Almost any berry preserves will go well with the lemon filling, so use any you like, just be sure they’re thick. Select a pie dough that’s malleable; you want to be able to fold it without it tearing or crumbling.
Yields six 2×4-inch turnovers
Your favorite dough for a 9 ½ inch single pie crust, cold
1 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s
2-3 teaspoons lemon curd, commercial or home-made
6 teaspoons thick blueberry preserves
1 tablespoon cream
Sparkling or large grain granulated sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center position. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
2. If the crust dough is too firm to roll, let it rest until it softens up. Roll to a one-eighth-of-an-inch thickness (do this between two sheets of waxed paper, lifting the dough off each of the sheets occasionally as you roll). Cut into circles that are 4 ¼ -inches in diameter, place them on the prepared cookie sheet, cover loosely, and refrigerate. Gather the dough scraps into a disc (if the dough is too soft to work with, refrigerate or freeze until it firms up) and re-roll, cutting more circles; you should have a total of 6. Move them to the prepared cookie sheet and place it back in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
3. Make the filling: In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer (or pulse in a mini-food processor) until smooth and blended (don’t overbeat or the cream cheese will get watery). Stir in 2 teaspoons lemon curd, taste, add a little more curd if desired. In another small bowl, stir the preserves until smooth; if they’re chilled, you may need to heat them briefly in a microwave (low heat) to ease stirring.
3. Remove the cookie sheet from the refrigerator. Beat the egg and brush it on the outside edge of each dough circle. Spread a scant teaspoon of the cream cheese filling just to the right of the center of each circle and top it with a scant teaspoon of the preserves. Fold the left side of the dough circle over the right side (if the dough starts to break when folded, let it warm up a little) and use the tines of a fork to press the two egg-brushed edges together so they seal. Use a sharp knife or miniature cookie cutter to cut several vents in the top of each turnover.
7. Place the turnovers at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet, with the turnovers on it, in the freezer or refrigerator until the dough is quite firm.
8. Remove the sheet from the ‘fridge. Add the cream to the remainder of the beaten egg, brush a thin coating on each turnover and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Put the pan in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 400 degrees, and bake until the turnovers are light golden brown, about 12-17 minutes, depending on how cold they are when placed in the oven.
9. Remove to a rack. Serve warm or cool completely, store covered at room temperature for 1-2 days. Reheat in a 325 degree oven until warm to the touch.
Vera Dawson is a high altitude baking teacher and author of two high-altitude cookbooks Baking Above It All and Cookies in the Clouds, (available at The Bookworm in Edwards and Next Page Bookstore in Frisco). Her recipes have been tested in her Summit County kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at email@example.com.
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