Today The Cousin returns and thankfully also writes a blog post for me.
In a kitchen in a galaxy not too far away…
Greetings readers of tentimestea’s blog! I am The Cousin, a.k.a The Writographer, and I am back to help out my cousin with her blog while visiting for the holidays.
Today, the two of us are making apple turnovers, however instead of the traditional triangular shaped turnovers, I have managed to convince my cousin to let us shape them as dumplings (this is the first time I have successfully changed my cousin’s mind when it comes to baking).
The last time I wrote a post for this wonderful blog, I had decided to write a play-by-play of what went down in the kitchen during our baking session. However, for this post we had a lengthy discussion and it was decided that I should not do another commentary of the baking session. Although, all I will say about the baking session is that lighting was not on our side. We spent much time playing with the aperture, shutter speed and white balance. Nevertheless, we managed to take some photographs that do not look completely odd (tentimestea note: we tried very hard! I was also very bossy!).
This holiday has been very Star Wars filled. I decided to watch the prequel trilogy (at this point I have watched the first two, and will hopefully watch the third one this evening). I also went to watch Star Wars: Episode VIII- The Last Jedi, which was absolutely fantastic. I thought it was so cool, and I am now impatiently waiting for 2019 for the ninth episode to come out.
While this is the first time Star Wars appears in this blog, it is not the first time that Star Wars has been the theme of a baking session. When I last visited my cousin, we made Star Wars shaped cookies (Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Millennium Falcon, Death Star and Stormtroopers). Hopefully I will eventually persuade my cousin to allow us to make more Star Wars themed food. However, I have managed to get her to agree that she will watch Star Wars. (tentimestea note: I actually have no memory of this, so this “agreement” may have involved some liberal interpretation on my cousin’s behalf. But I suppose her passion for Star Wars does make me want to understand why she adores it so much.)
When discussing Star Wars with her, and trying to get her interested, she was questioning what about it was so very interesting. I find that Star Wars is an incredible film series because of its characters. One of my all time favourite characters is C-3PO, because he is quite funny and is very amusing to watch. I also really love the relationship between him and R2-D2. I actually really love all the droids in the films, especially BB-8, because while the other two are very amusing, BB-8 seems to be the most helpful during a battle because he can roll very quickly, and unlike R2-D2, he can go down the stairs (which was very amusing to watch in The Force Awakens). It is also very touching to see BB-8’s connection to his owner, Poe Dameron. I will not spoil the latest film for those of you who have not yet seen it, but I will say that there is a moment in the film where Poe is more interested in seeing if his droid is alright than whether his human friends are. In all fairness, if I had a droid as cute, loyal and helpful as BB-8, I would most likely react the same way. I would also like to have a Wookiee as a friend, like Han Solo and Chewbacca. Not only would he be loyal and helpful for piloting around the galaxy, he would also give very warm, comforting hugs. I have often thought about sleeping next to Chewie and using him as my pillow/blanket.
There is so much more that I could say about every single character from the Star Wars franchise, but, since not all you fellow readers of this blog are fans of this series, I do not wish to bore you with a Star Wars rant, since you are here to appreciate the incredible baking that goes on in tentimestea’s kitchen.
So, here we go: back to the kitchen. The end result is very delicious. The pastry is reasonably flaky and the filling is very apple and cinnamon tasting. However, that part is slightly shocking to me considering all the ingredients that we put into the apples (tentimestea note: too much cinnamon I think). I would advise that if the turnovers are not eaten almost immediately after taking them out of oven, to put them into the toaster oven to crisp the pastry and make the apples warmer (I also think that this would go very well with vanilla ice-cream, when warm).
Thank you The Cousin! You can find more of her writing and photography at the Writographer.
My aunt, uncle and The Cousin were sweet enough to buy me some spices for baking with, which included cardamom and a few new ones to me, such as the pit of the sapote fruit. At the spice store they were advised it could be used like nutmeg. At first I could find little other information on the sapote pit (as opposed to the fruit) apart from this Chowhound thread started by a person who purchased the pit from the same place and received the same advice. After a bit more searching I realized the mamey sapote pit is also referred to as pixtli and used, for example, in mole.
The sapote pit (pixtli) does has some nutmeg-y tones, but is milder and less spicy, with some nuttiness and a more cinnamon-type toastiness. Next I’m thinking I will try it in something with cream and maybe chocolate, similar to what I saw in this cookbook.
Overall, these turnovers were alright. Nothing exceptional, but simple, straightforwards: just pastry and cooked apples–or really, whatever sort of fruit or jam or nut cream you like.
Pastry methodology, as most often always, adapted from Chez Pim’s pie dough.
150g whole wheat flour
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp salt + 1 tbsp sugar
400g peeled and chopped apples
5 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
part of 1 green cardamom pod, crushed
1/2 tsp finely grated sapote, or 1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 capfuls dark rum
beaten egg, to glaze
For the pastry, combine the flour with the sugar and salt and pour out onto the counter. Cut the butter into thin slabs, dust both sides in the flour. Using the heel of your hand, flatten the butter into the flour. Use a bench scraper to turn the flour/butter over onto itself and flatten again. Repeat until the butter is in thin flakes. Make a well in the centre, add a couple tbsp cold water, adding more as necessary, and mix by the same folding method until you have a shaggy cohesive dough. Roll out into a rectangle, fold in thirds, then roll out in the other direction and fold once more. Wrap in plastic and chill completely.
For the filling, place the peeled and chopped apples in a small saucepan, add the sugar, spices, rum, and cook until the apples are just tender. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Roll out the pastry thinly and cut out rounds. Roll the rounds out a bit thinner if necessary–the smaller the rounds are, the less filling you can fit into them. Pile the filling in the middle (1 1/2 -2 tbsp depending on the size of the round). Brush the edge with a bit of water and close, then seal with a fork. Score a few vents into the top, brush with beaten egg and bake until well browned, around 20-30 minutes depending on the size and thickness of pastry. As the Cousin suggests, they are better warm.