Sweet cherry turnovers are one of my favorite semi-homemade desserts to bake up when juicy cherries are plentiful in the summer months. Prepared using store-bought puff pastry filled with a luscious homemade cherry filling, bursting with fresh cherries, these delectable turnovers are a delectable pastry to indulge in during cherry season!
A Favorite Flaky Pastry for Cherry Lovers
Growing up in Michigan, I had the pleasure of taking little summer trips with my parents to the “Cherry Capital of the World”, Traverse City.
During the month of July, tourists such as ourselves would make a trip up to that lovely northern city, situated directly on the glimmering shores of Lake Michigan, and enjoy the beautiful scenery, the warm breezes, and copious amounts of fresh cherries that were being sold everywhere.
Those delicious cherries were the stars in all sorts of irresistible sweet treats as well, such as huge cherry pies, cherry preserves, cherry muffins, and, one of my favorites, flaky cherry turnovers.
I was a sucker for the turnovers because they seemed like the perfect little sweet packages, a wonderfully dainty “hand pie” of a dessert...
The glossy, juicy, sweet and tangy filling studded with big, fresh cherries sort of oozed out the side of the crisp, golden-brown puff pastry “package”, making each bite seem extra rustic and that much more fun to eat—I was in love!
Ah, those lovely little trips and fond memories... they offer up so much inspiration for me when it comes to cooking and baking!
So whenever cherry season comes around in the warm summer months, and those big cello bags of plump, dark, sweet cherries sit abundantly on produce shelves in our markets, my imagination starts running wild with how to make the most delicious use of them.
So this year, these warm, flaky cherry turnovers were my pick for the season, with the taste of fresh sweet cherries in every bite!
My Cherry Turnover Recipe with Homemade Cherry Filling
Here's a big part of what I love about preparing homemade turnovers: they're wonderfully semi-homemade, which means that part of the recipe makes use of good-quality, store-bought ingredients for convenience sake, and part of the recipe is made from scratch.
Turnovers are prepared using puff pastry dough, and since really good-quality puff pastry sheets can be purchased in the markets in the frozen foods section, purchasing these, rather than preparing this dough from scratch, is a BIG time saver.
For me, so much of the pleasure found in these little pastries is about the quality of the filling. So for my recipe here, I use fresh cherries.
Not too sweet, my homemade cherry filling has a touch of tartness, and is juicy, glossy, and really showcases that amazing flavor that fresh cherries have.
There's even a little touch of almond extract in the filling to boost that cherry aroma!
Here's a peek at my cherry turnover recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my homemade, fresh cherry filling, and allow it to cool completely.
- While my filling cools, I thaw my store-bought puff pasty sheets at room temp.
- Once ready to fill, I roll out one puff pastry sheet at a time into a square shape, then cut it into 4 smaller squares. I dollop some cherry filling into the center of each square, brush the edges with egg wash, and seal to form a triangle shape. I repeat this process with my other puff pastry sheet.
- When all 8 of my cherry turnovers are prepared, I chill them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Next, I egg wash each turnover and sprinkle with a touch of turbinado sugar (optional), then bake them for 22-24 minutes, or until golden-brown, puffed, and flaky.
- To finish, I drizzle the cooled cherry turnovers with a bit of sweet glaze, and enjoy!
by Ingrid Beer
These flaky cherry turnovers are prepared with a homemade filling of fresh, juicy cherries, and finished with a kiss of sweet glaze!
Yield: 8 cherry turnovers
Nutrition Info: 371 calories (per cherry turnover)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Cherry Turnovers Ingredients:
- 1 pound fresh, dark cherries, stems removed and pitted (about 2 ½ cups pitted cherries)
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (level) cornstarch, plus ¼ teaspoon
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 (17.3 ounce) package puff pastry (2 sheets), frozen
- 1 egg, whisked for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of the turnover ingredients except for the puff pastry sheets—keep those frozen—according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Prepare your cherry filling: place the pitted cherries into a small pot along with the lemon juice and water. In a small dish, mix together the sugar and the cornstarch, and add this mixture into the cherries in the pot and stir to combine.
- Turn the heat on medium-high under the cherries and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer the filling for about 8 minutes, until the filling thickens and becomes very glossy, red, and shiny. Remove the filling from the heat, stir in the almond extract, then spoon the filling into a clean bowl to completely cool. (You can place the filling into the fridge to expedite the cooling process.)
- While the cherry filling cools, remove the puff pastry sheets from the freezer, and thaw at room temperature according to package instructions. (If your puff pastry is thawed before the filling is completely cooled, then place the sheets into the fridge to keep cold.)
- Once the filling has cooled, place one of the puff pasty sheets on a lightly floured work surface in front of you. Using a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry sheet into a square that is 10” x 10”, then cut this square into 4 equal size squares that are 5” each.
- Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cherry filling to the center of each square, then brush the edge with egg wash, and carefully fold one half of the puff pasty square over the filling to create a triangle shape. Press the seam with your fingers to seal, then using a fork, crimp the edges to further seal.
- Place the 4 filled and sealed turnovers onto a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, and repeat the process with the other puff pasty sheet to create 4 more turnovers, making a total of 8 cherry turnovers.
- Next, using a paring knife, gently cut two slits into the top of each turnover to create vents, then place the turnovers, with their baking sheet, into the freezer to chill for 15-20 minutes. (Do not skip this step, as the puff pastry dough will be too soft/warm at this point, and will spread rather than puff while baking.)
- While the turnovers chill, preheat your oven to 400°.
- Once chilled, brush a bit of the egg wash over each cherry turnover, and sprinkle over top of each a small amount of the turbinado sugar, if using.
- Bake the turnovers for 22-24 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Once baked, place the turnovers onto a wire rack to completely cool.
- While the turnovers cool, gather and prep your glaze ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- In a small bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Once the turnovers are cooled to room temp, drizzle a small amount of the glaze over each turnover, allow it to set up for a few minutes, then enjoy your cherry turnovers.
Tips & Tidbits for my Cherry Turnover Recipe:
- Fresh, dark sweet cherries: Nothing beats fresh cherries at the peak of their season when it comes to summery desserts, so dark sweet cherries is what I'm opting for in this recipe. You'll need a pound of fresh cherries and you can use all dark cherries, or a combo of tart and dark cherries, if you prefer. I you would like to make these turnovers using frozen cherries, then use about 2 ½ to 3 cups worth as a substitute.
- A touch of pure almond extract for added aroma: Pure almond extract has that innate cherry flavor and works perfect to help boost the aroma of the cherry filling. I add just a small amount to my finished cherry filling, which really wakens it up a bit. But if you don't have pure almond extract, or prefer not to use it, then feel free to leave it out. The flavor of the filling will still be amazing!
- Don't overfill nor under fill the turnovers: If you add too much filling to the turnovers, then you may end up with a little too much “oozing”. Some oozing is totally normal, and quite rustic, but you don't want the turnovers to open up while baking. Conversely, if you don't add enough filling, it'll be a boring cherry turnover—not good eats. So stick to about 2 ½ to 3 tablespoons of the filling (per turnover) for good results.
- Don't skip the step of chilling the filled cherry turnovers: Because puff pastry can be a bit finicky as it warms up, make sure that once you have all 8 of your cherry turnovers assembled and on a parchment-lined baking sheet, you place them into the freezer to chill for 15-20 minutes. This will help prevent the turnovers from spreading rather than puffing up, and oozing out too much of the filling. This chills the dough and helps keep things “set”.
- Prep the filling ahead: To expedite your process on the day you'd like to bake these cherry turnovers, you can prep the cherry filling a day or two beforehand to have cool and ready to use. Then, the day your ready to bake, simply thaw your puff pastry sheets and roll/cut them, then fill and bake.