Caramel Apple Turnovers: The Ultimate Dessert Guide

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As the season turns and the air becomes crisp, there’s no better way to embrace the flavors of fall than with caramel apple turnovers. These tantalizing treats combine the classic combination of tart apples, warm spices, and gooey caramel, all wrapped up in a flaky, golden-brown puff pastry. The allure of caramel apple turnovers is not only in their delicious taste, but also in their simplicity to make, making them an ideal treat for gatherings or simply satisfying your sweet tooth.

Preparing caramel apple turnovers at home is a delightful way to spend a cozy afternoon in your kitchen. You’ll start by dicing apples and cooking them with brown sugar and spices, like cinnamon, to create the perfect sweet and tart filling. A package of frozen puff pastry can be used to streamline the process once you’ve created your caramel-apple mixture, giving you time to focus on folding the turnovers into perfect triangles. After baking to a golden perfection, a drizzle of caramel sauce adds the perfect finishing touch to your caramel apple turnovers.

These delectable pastries are bound to become a fall favorite in your household. As you savor each flaky, caramel-filled bite, you’ll surely appreciate the ease of this recipe and the warm flavors that have come to define the autumn season. Enjoy your caramel apple turnovers with a hot cup of tea or coffee, and revel in the joyful moments of fall spent with friends and family.

The Basics of Caramel Apple Turnovers

A table with ingredients for caramel apple turnovers: apples, caramel sauce, puff pastry, cinnamon, sugar, and a rolling pin

Choosing the Right Apples

When making caramel apple turnovers, selecting the right type of apples is crucial. The best apples for this recipe are firm and have a balance of sweet and tart flavors. Gala and Honeycrisp apples are excellent choices, as they maintain their texture and flavor when baked. Dice the apples into small, even pieces for even cooking and proper filling distribution.

Understanding Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is essential for creating the light, flaky crust synonymous with apple turnovers. You can find pre-made puff pastry sheets at your local grocery store, often in the frozen section. Allow the puff pastry to thaw before working with it. Gently unfold the sheets and cut them into squares for the turnovers.

To make your turnovers, start by preheating your oven according to the recipe instructions. While the oven heats, prepare your apple filling by cooking the diced apples with butter, brown sugar, and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The apples should become tender and nicely caramelized.

Next, place a spoonful of the apple filling on each puff pastry square. Fold the pastry over the filling to form a triangle, making sure the edges are sealed tightly to prevent leakage. Press the edges with a fork for a decorative touch and to further secure the filling.

Before baking, brush the turnovers with egg wash (a mixture of egg and water) for a golden, glossy finish. Bake the turnovers in the preheated oven until they are puffed and golden brown. Allow them to cool slightly, then drizzle with caramel sauce for the perfect finishing touch.

Enjoy your caramel apple turnovers by serving them warm, allowing the flaky pastry, tender apples, and rich caramel flavors to blend together harmoniously.

Preparing the Apple Filling

Apples being peeled, sliced, and mixed with caramel sauce in a bowl. Sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top

Creating the Perfect Apple Mixture

To prepare your apple filling for caramel apple turnovers, start by selecting the right apples. A combination of Granny Smith and another sweeter variety such as Pink Lady or Fuji would be ideal. Both varieties offer a balance of tartness and sweetness, as well as hold up well during baking. Peel, core, and dice your apples into small, uniform pieces for even cooking and easy wrapping in the pastry.

Next, place your diced apples into a saucepan and add sugar to taste. This not only sweetens the apples but also helps in releasing the natural juices. A good starting point would be to add about 1/4 cup of sugar for every 2 cups of diced apples. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the apples soften slightly.

Enhancing Flavors with Spices

To bring out the warm, comforting flavors of your apple filling, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice can be added to your mixture. For a well-rounded spice profile, try adding 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and a pinch of allspice per 2 cups of diced apples. Mix the spices into the apple mixture while it is cooking.

As the apples release their juices, you’ll want to thicken the filling slightly to ensure that it doesn’t make the turnovers too soggy. For this purpose, dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into a little water and stir it into your apple mixture. Cook the filling for a few more minutes until the cornstarch has thickened the juices, giving it a consistency similar to apple pie filling.

Once your apple filling reaches the desired consistency, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool before proceeding to use it in your caramel apple turnovers. By following these steps, you’ll have created a delicious and flavorful filling ready to be wrapped in flaky, golden pastry and baked to perfection.

Assembling the Turnovers

Before starting the assembly of your caramel apple turnovers, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and tools ready: puff pastry sheets, apple filling, egg wash, a spoon, and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

First, take the puff pastry sheets and place them on a lightly floured surface. If they’re frozen, ensure they have thawed before using. Flatten the sheets slightly with a rolling pin, then cut each sheet into four equal squares.

Next, it’s time to place the apple filling onto the puff pastry. You can use a premade apple filling or make your own by peeling and chopping apples, then cooking them with sugar and spices until soft. Once the filling is prepared, spoon it onto the center of each puff pastry square. Be careful not to overfill, as this may cause the turnovers to leak while baking.

Now, drizzle a little caramel sauce over the apple filling on each square. If you want a richer caramel flavor, feel free to add more sauce, keeping in mind that too much may result in a soggy turnover.

To shape your turnovers into triangles, fold one corner of the puff pastry square over to the opposite corner. Press down on the edges lightly to seal the turnover, ensuring the filling doesn’t escape. To create a more secure seal and a decorative finish, crimp the edges with a fork.

Before placing your turnovers onto the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, prepare an egg wash by whisking one egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush this wash gently over the tops of the turnovers, as this will give them a beautiful, shiny finish once baked.

Finally, arrange your turnovers on the prepared baking sheet, making sure they are evenly spaced out to allow for optimal baking.

Making Homemade Caramel Sauce

Combining Ingredients for Caramel

Making the perfect caramel sauce for your delicious caramel apple turnovers requires just a few ingredients: sugar, water, heavy cream, salted butter, and vanilla extract. Start by adding 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water into a medium-sized saucepan. Place it over medium heat and stir occasionally to dissolve sugar evenly.

Once the sugar has dissolved, switch to low heat and let the mixture gently simmer. As the sugar mixture cooks, it will start to caramelize, acquiring a deep golden color. Resist the urge to stir or whisk the mixture during this process. Simply swirl the saucepan gently to ensure even caramelization.

Achieving the Ideal Consistency

Once your sugar mixture reaches the desired caramel color, remove the saucepan from heat. You will now incorporate other ingredients to achieve the rich, creamy consistency of the caramel sauce.

Carefully pour in 1/2 cup of heavy cream into the saucepan, as the mixture may bubble and steam. Be cautious, as the caramel can be very hot. Using a whisk, stir the heavy cream into the caramel mixture until fully combined.

Next, add 4 tablespoons of salted butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the saucepan. Stir with your whisk until the butter is melted, and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Your homemade caramel sauce is now ready for use in your caramel apple turnovers.

Here’s a summary of the steps and ingredients:

  1. Dissolve 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low and let the sugar mixture caramelize.
  3. Remove the saucepan from heat and carefully add 1/2 cup heavy cream.
  4. Stir in 4 tablespoons salted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Remember to take your time and be patient throughout the process, and you’ll achieve a delicious caramel sauce that will elevate your caramel apple turnovers.

Baking to Perfection

Baking caramel apple turnovers requires some attention to detail to ensure that they come out of the oven golden brown and flaky. Follow these steps and timeline to bake them perfectly.

Prep Time: 25-30 minutes
Cook Time: 16-19 minutes
Total Time: 41-49 minutes

First, plan your prep time by setting out your thawed puff pastry sheets 25-30 minutes before you begin the assembly process, so they reach room temperature. While waiting, you can also prepare your apple filling and gather other necessary ingredients. This includes apples, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch, among others.

To create the perfect turnovers, follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to the specified temperature in the recipe.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to prevent sticking and make cleaning easier.
  3. Cut the puff pastry sheets into squares and spoon a generous amount of filling in the center of each square.
  4. Fold the pastry in a triangle shape, carefully ensuring that the filling stays inside. Crimp the edges with a fork to secure the turnovers.
  5. Brush each turnover with a beaten egg mixture to give them a beautiful, shiny finish.
  6. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon and turbinado sugar on top, adding a touch of sweetness and texture.

Place the turnovers on the prepared baking sheet and slide them into the preheated oven. Monitor the cook time carefully, as it usually takes around 16-19 minutes for them to become golden brown. However, keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking or burning the edges.

Following these steps, you’ll have a batch of expertly baked caramel apple turnovers that are both beautiful and delicious, ready to be enjoyed by family and friends.

Serving and Storage Tips

Ideal Pairings and Garnishes

Caramel apple turnovers are a delightful dessert that can be enjoyed on their own, but their flavor can be enhanced with some delicious pairings. One popular choice is to serve them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cold, creamy ice cream complements the warm, spiced filling and flaky pastry. Additionally, a drizzle of caramel sauce on top of the turnovers adds a hint of rich sweetness that ties the whole dish together.

For extra flavor and texture, consider garnishing your turnovers with some chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts. These crunchy additions contrast well with the tenderness of the cooked apples.

When serving caramel apple turnovers, consider these pairings and garnishes to elevate your dessert experience:

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Caramel sauce
  • Chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Storing for Freshness

To make sure your caramel apple turnovers stay fresh and delicious, it is essential to store them correctly. After they have cooled completely, place the turnovers in an airtight container. It is best to store them in the refrigerator to maintain their freshness.

When you’re ready to enjoy a turnover again, simply reheat it on a baking dish for 5 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees. This will help to achieve that fresh-from-the-oven taste and preserve the flaky texture of the pastry.

Remember these key steps for properly storing caramel apple turnovers:

  • Cool completely before storing
  • Use an airtight container
  • Place in the refrigerator
  • Reheat at 400 degrees for 5 minutes
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