Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lowfat Apple Turnovers with Phyllo Dough

Two Turnovers with Two Toppings
Choice of Toppings

Recipe from The Cooking Decade

A lowfat apple turnover sounds too good to be true, or at least too unusual to be delicious. However, in The Cooking Decade, a collection of tried and true family recipes compiled by my sister Chris, it is marked “Outstanding.” I’m not a phyllo dough expert, in fact have only used it twice to make spanakopita, many years ago. Though this recipe is easiest if you have some phyllo finesse, it is truly hard to ruin. The original recipe calls for cutting the phyllo into long equal strips and stacking them up. Easier said than done for phyllo novices with limited counter space. So on my second try, I cut the dough crosswise, to make shorter, wider sheets. Then I stacked two manageable-sized sheets and folded them. This seemed an easier way to make even dough strips, with fewer torn edges. Also, the turnovers were fewer and plumper, hardly a disadvantage.

Plate of Apple Turnovers
Perfect Autumn Brunch Treat
One secret to working phyllo is to not let it dry out as you work with it. Take the stack out of the package, unroll it, and cover it with a slightly damp/wrung out tea towel. Alternate between re-covering with the towel and leaving the towel off every time you remove a sheet from the stack, so the stack stays moist but doesn’t get soggy/sticky. 

Also, as soon as the sheet is on the working surface, spray it with cooking spray. Then use a brush to even out the layer of spray. Make sure edges are covered with oil; they’ll tear if they get too dry. Torn, uneven edges, small holes, and other flaws might look funky while turnovers are raw, but once baked these turnover faux pas are all but invisible. Check out Magie’s Place is Cooking on youtube to watch a video that makes working with phyllo look easy. Practice makes perfect.

Baking Sheet full of Turnovers
Ready for the Oven
A word on cooking spray: gone are the days when you must use synthetic chemicals. Nowadays you can choose a healthy real oil spray, for example Spectrum High Heat Organic Sunflower Oil. Spectrum also makes a spray CoconutOil, also a healthy, if rather more expensive option. Note that this recipe uses quite a bit of cooking spray, so if you prefer you could brush on bottled sunflower or walnut oil instead. Of course this bumps up the fat quotient of the turnovers.

Organic phyllo is available these days, as well as wholewheat phyllo (I haven’t tried the latter, but I’m almost confident enough now to try it). Look for products from the Fillo Factory in the frozen foods section of your local natural foods store.

Thumb Crimping Turnover Edges
Sealing Apples into Turnover
The original recipe didn’t produce brown enough turnovers, so I brushed the tops with walnut oil on the second go-around. The tops seemed kind of plain, so I also sprinkled them with coarse raw sugar or fine cinnamon sugar, hubby Bruce’s suggestion. You could choose instead to brush them with beaten egg before sprinkling with topping for a hard glossy texture. The recipe says to serve these warm, which is ideal. We also enjoyed them the following day, although the texture wasn’t nearly as crispy.

Two Turnovers, One with Bites Taken Out of It
Impossible to Resist
Low Fat Apple Turnovers
makes about 10

  cups peeled, finely chopped cooking apples (about 1lb.)
1½ tsp. lemon juice
¼ cup evaporated cane juice (raw sugar)
1 tbsp. flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
~10 sheets (½ pkg.) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Sunflower oil spray
~2 tsp. walnut oil
~2 tbsp.coarse raw sugar or 1 tbsp. fine cinnamon sugar

In small mixing bowl, gently toss together apples and lemon juice. In a smaller dish, stir together evaporated cane juice (sugar), flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Sprinkle sugar mixture over the apples, toss together, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet or two with oil, and even out the layer of oil with a brush.

Unwrap the phyllo dough and remove one sheet at a time. Cover the phyllo stack with a slightly damp, wrung-out tea towel. Put one sheet onto your working surface. Spray sheet with oil, then spread into an even layer with brush. Be sure to coat edges with oil.
You will be cutting and folding the longer edge into quarters: Cut sheet in half with knife, from one longer side to the other. Lift one sheet and put it on top of the other. Fold sheets in the middle, bringing the edges that you cut together. Spray the top with oil and brush out to edges. This will make one turnover.

Alternatively, when you develop phyllo skills, you can make two turnovers at once. After covering the first sheet with oil, remove another sheet from the stack and put it directly on top of the first (don't worry if it's not perfectly aligned, if there are tears in the sheet, etc.). Spray with oil and brush oil to edges. Now when you cut the sheet in half, you already have a double layer. Fold each half in half parallel to the cut you made. Brush with oil.

For each turnover, use a heaping tablespoon; about 2½ – 3 level tablespoons, of apple mixture. Don’t use any liquids that accumulate in the bowl or the turnovers will be soggy. Scoop the apple mixture onto the dough about 1 inch from edges. Fold one edge over to form a triangle and crimp the edges. Fold again into second triangle and crimp edges again. Continue folding into triangles as you would a flag. Refer to the last part of the video at Magie’s Place is Cooking for a demo.

As you make the turnovers, put them onto the oiled baking sheet. When all are ready to bake, brush tops with walnut oil. Sprinkle with coarse raw sugar or fine cinnamon sugar.

Put baking sheet into oven and IMMEDIATELY lower temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15 or 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving. 

Two Turnovers on Plate, on Half-eaten
Seriously Outstanding Turnovers

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