Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Prune and Walnut Turnovers (Page 794)

  • Date: Sunday, April 27, 2008 -- 3pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Paul K, Chuck, and many other mathematicians and their families
  • Recipe Rating: B+

Making pastry crust requires dirtying some very specific equipment (the food processor, the rolling pin, the silpat, etc...). I figured as long as I was going to get all that stuff dirty with pastry crust to make the tart below, I might as well make another pastry crust while I was at it! So on Sunday I made these turnovers as another dessert to bring to the math department picnic. On a recent trip to the grocery store with Emilee she noted that there is a new trend to label prunes as "Dried Plums" rather than the traditional "Prunes." We laughed about that change in marketing strategy. It makes sense though -- prunes have a bad reputation. They are thought of more as a remedy than a food, and despite their similarities to dried dates and figs, the word prune just doesn't have the same positive connotation. I have to admit, I became a part of this same marketing ploy -- when people asked me what these were, I said, "Dried fruit and walnut turnovers." That's honest. It just happens that the only dried fruit they contained was prunes! I would have said, "Dried plum and walnut turnovers," but this particular audience is smarter than that. They certainly would have responded, "You mean, prunes?" Anyway, none of this is particularly relevant. No matter what you call them, what is important is how they tasted.

So how did they taste? They were good! I don't cook so often with prunes. I don't dislike them, but people give you this weird unhappy look when you tell them you are serving prunes. So I generally avoid them (now that I know this new marketing strategy, I can make lots of prune dishes!). The prunes made a nice filling though, ground together with some almonds. The crust was a pain to deal with (not enough moisture!) but delicious to eat. It was flaky from the layers of butter and flour, and tangy from the cream cheese. Yum! Overall the turnovers were pretty tasty. I have only one serious complaint. Usually with turnovers you fill them with fruit -- blueberries or apples -- which tends to juice and spread out in the oven, oozing delicious filling into every corner of the turnover. These turnovers, however, were full of a thick prune paste. It didn't ooze. So the filling was all lumped towards the middle, and the corners were all crust. It wasn't a good distribution. Honestly, while the prune filling wasn't bad at all, I think these turnovers would have been overall tastier filled with some delicious blueberries. The prune filling would be more appropriate for some tiny little one-bite pastries, where a sticky sweet dried fruit filling is perfect.

The recipe in The Book is the same as this one, except instead of making big turnovers, the one online makes many little crescent-shapes.

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