For most of my life, I ate cranberries exactly twice a year – on Thanksgiving and Christmas – and always in the predictable form of traditional cranberry sauce, more often than not poured from a can, and always dressed up for the occasion in a pretty, cut-crystal serving bowl. Over time, I grew to love dried cranberries atop morning oatmeal and nestled into cookies – and college provided plenty of cranberry juice spiked with splashes of vodka – but fresh cranberries remained elusive, save for that yearly holiday sauce.
A few weeks before Thanksgiving each year, I’d begin to see bags of bright, deeply jewel-colored fresh cranberries appear in the produce section, but always passed them by, drawn to other seasonal favorites. That is until a couple of years ago, when I ventured to make fresh cranberry sauce from scratch. While not exactly a culinary breakthrough, my from-scratch recipe was hands down better than the shelf-stable, prepared variety I had grown used to. It was time to ditch that can for good.
For this year’s Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, I decided to add some sweet, little Forelle pears and a splash of lemon to the mix. My go-to recipe makes enough for a dozen or so holiday dinner guests, but given that this year we will be celebrating on a smaller scale, I’ve been thinking of ways to re-purpose the leftovers.
Enter a nagging box of frozen puff pastry that I’ve been meaning to utilize. Puff Pastry Turnovers called out to me from our packed and disorganized freezer. It was worth a go, even just to free up some space… Luckily, the combination turned out to be a winner. A generous dollop of cranberry pear sauce is tucked inside light, buttery layers of puff pastry, baked to golden oblivion, and dusted with feathery powdered sugar. It’s sweet and tart pastry heaven.
A few quick notes:
- Homemade puff-pastry would take this recipe over the top, but that’s a recipe that’s still on my baking bucket list. If you have the time and inclination though…
- I keep thinking that for a sweet and savory version of these turnovers, adding a slice of brie underneath the cranberry pear sauce would be pretty incredible. If anyone fancies a try…
- You could really make these lovely, little turnovers with just about any type of fruit with a few adjustments. Most fruit won’t require as much water or sugar to make the sauce. Or, you skip that step entirely, and use your favorite, thick jam or preserves.
Cranberry Pear Turnovers
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 2/3 cup cranberry pear sauce (recipe below)
- 1 tbsp half-and-half or milk
- optional egg-wash: 1 egg and 2 tsp half-and-half or milk
- optional topping: 1 tbsp powdered sugar
Fresh Cranberry Pear Sauce
- 3/4 cup water
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups (12oz) fresh cranberries
- 1 medium pear, peeled, cored and finely chopped
Make the Cranberry Pear Sauce
- In a large sauce pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice and zest, cranberries and pear to the pot and return to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes until the cranberries have softened. Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the Cranberry Pear Turnovers
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Unfold the puff pastry onto a sheet of parchment paper. With a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry square into quarters. Brush the edges of each pastry square (about 1/2-inch wide) with the half-and-half or milk. Place about a tablespoon of the cranberry pear sauce in the center of each square, reserving as much liquid as possible. Fold each pastry square in half diagonally, and place on the sheet pan.
- For golden-brown turnovers, whisk together the egg and cream, and brush the tops of each turnover. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through, and the cranberry pear sauce is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool on a baking rack. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar.