Caramelized Onion, Apple, and Cheddar Cheese Turnovers
December 30, 2010 § 3 Comments
So, it is Joanna’s boyfriend Erik again, doing another guest post. This time I want to share a recipe I made for my family for Christmas. These turnovers are warm and flaky, savory and little sweet, great for chilly fall and winter afternoons. Down to business.
I got this recipe from here. I made a few changes from the original, omitting the bacon and reducing the amount of vinegar, as I like neither of those things. I honestly think these are perfect without the bacon, but add some if you wish. I used about 6 ounces of cheddar cheese, and I think it was excellent. The original suggests gouda as another possibility.
About the puff pastry: I was busy preparing other dishes as well, so I used frozen puff pastry. It hurt me a little bit inside. I would suggest going for making it yourself, if you have the time (depending on the recipe, it can require up to two overnight refrigerations). It isn’t too difficult assuming you have a food processor (I can suggest the recipe from The Joy of Cooking, if you have that), or if you are really badass you can do it by hand. I find it rewarding to make things like that myself. However, this time I used some frozen puff pastry made by Good Wives (I found it at Whole Foods): it contains only flour, butter, water, and salt; it puffed perfectly and tasted great. I suggest getting something like that if you are pressed for time. Watch out for some brands, as they are filled with all sorts of oils and preservatives that have no place in pastry.
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
2 medium-sized yellow onions, sliced thinly
1 apple (I used a red delicious), diced small
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 egg yolk mixed with one tablespoon warm water
6 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese
If you are using frozen puff pastry, make sure you give it some time to warm up, so take it out when you start preparing things. If you intend to bake these right away, you should start your oven preheating to 400F.
Cut up the onions and the apple, and get out a decently-sized skillet. The onions lose a lot of moisture and shrink, so if you pick a pan that fits all your onion at the beginning you’ll have plenty of room by the time they are caramelized.
Put 1-2 tbsp of butter or oil into your skillet and cook your onions slowly, over medium-ish heat, with a pinch of salt. You want them to soften and caramelize, without browning. Stir them often, especially if you have the heat on higher, and be prepared to turn down the heat and remove the pan from heat if they start to burn. If all goes well, you should have nicely caramelized onions in about 30 minutes.
I’ll admit mine were not perfect. I had the heat a bit low and after about 45 to 50 minutes I decided to continue on regardless. I could not taste any problems in the finished product (but I added a teaspoon or so of sugar to the mixture to cover any remaining edge of sharpness to the onions).
Once your onions are done to your satisfaction, add the apples, another pinch of salt, and cook those until they are slightly softened on the outside, but still firm. Add the cinnamon, and a little more salt if necessary, and then add the apple cider vinegar and continue to heat until it cooks off.
Grate the cheese, and add it to the mixture when that has cooled slightly.
Unfold the puff pastry and cut each sheet into four parts, preferably squares. You could also try four large triangles from one sheet. Either way can be used to create attractive, triangular pastries. I ended up with rectangles, and so I made four rectangular pastries from each sheet. I can assure you they were just as delicious as any other shape would be.
So once you have your eight pieces of puff pastry, put a heaping spoonful of the onion-apple-cheese mixture on each. I ended up using all of it, with nothing left over. Fold each pastry over, and crimp the edges together. If necessary, you can use some of the egg yolk to hold the edges together. I didn’t need it.
Now you have a few choices. You can bake these now. If you choose to do this, then make sure the oven is preheated, brush the egg yolk and water mixture on the tops of the pastries (so they golden nicely in the oven), cut one or two slits in the tops so steam can escape, and pop them in the oven.
Your other options are to refrigerate the pastries and cook them the next day, like I did. Then you should brush them with egg and cut vents in the top of them just before you bake them. Also, you could freeze them and keep them for however long you dare.
These barely survived Christmas supper. The one remaining pastry was still delicious the day after, though decidedly less flaky.