When it comes to nuts, I’m an almond girl through and through. Roasted, almond cream, almond croissants. If there’s almond’s in it, I’ve most likely had my fill! These almond cream turnovers are a tasty twist on Chaussons aux pommes and I’d have to admit, I prefer them over the originals!
As for chaussons aux pommes, almond cream turnovers are a great way to master puff pastry without eating the same thing over and over.. They’re also easier than tackling croissant dough right off the bat, since we can spread out the process over a couple days (yay no yeast!).
Making the dough
The first step of making puff pastry for the turnovers would be what we call the détrempe, which consists of flour, water and a bit of salt. These are mixed together to create a dough and then put into the fridge to chill before proceeding with the lamination process.
While the détrempe is in the fridge, you’ll want to prepare the butter. On a large piece of parchment paper, place the butter and start to beat it with your rolling pin, folding it over on itself once it gets too thin and then start again. Continue until the butter is soft and pliable. You’re aiming for it to be the same texture as the détrempe. Fold the parchment paper over the now softened butter, creating a square and locking the butter in. With the rolling pin, roll the butter into all corners of the square, making sure it’s all even, then put it in the fridge.
Unlike quick puff pastry, which is used in tarte tatin, we’re going to actually laminate the dough exactly like we would for a croissant dough. See what I mean? These turnovers are a great gateway treat to making croissants later on!
Now that the dough is chilled, you’re going to start the lamination process. The détrempe needs to be rolled out to three times the length of the butter square. Place the butter in the middle, then fold the dough over the butter, enveloping it dough. With the rolling pin, press down on the open ends, to seal the the butter in.
Roll the dough out to about 50cm in length and brush off the excess flour. If you find it resisting and shrinking when you’re rolling it out, that means it’s not cold enough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it chill a bit longer. Then proceed with a single fold as pictured below.
Rotate the dough, so the ends are on the top and bottom and the seam is to your right. Roll the dough out to about 50cm in length and brush off the excess flour. Fold both ends into the middle until they meet, brush off excess flour again, then fold in half. This completes your first double fold.
Let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before proceeding with another simple fold and another double fold. In total, you should have 2 simple folds and 2 double folds. When you’re first familiarizing yourself with the process, I would suggest putting the dough in the fridge for around 15 minutes between each fold. This will keep the butter from getting too soft and melting into the dough while you’re working with it.
At the end of the lamination process, I always let the dough rest for a minimum of 30 minutes before proceeding with rolling it out for the final time. You could even throw it in the freezer, to ensure that your dough is nice and cold before starting. Everything else comes together quite quickly.
Almond cream is another essential base recipe in french pastry, much like pastry cream. You can use it in tarts, to fill pastries, etc and it sure does taste pretty damn good.
It’s quite simple to throw together, you can do everything by hand or in a mixer. Start by creaming the butter and sugar together, egg and vanilla extract, ending with the flour & ground almonds. Voila! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Is it worth the effort?
It may sound like it takes forever, once you know the process, you can whip it quite quickly. If you want to spread this over a couple days, you can make the dough and do your first couple folds on day one, followed by the last two folds on day two, then assemble and bake on day three. In this case, add a splash of white vinegar to the détrempe, this will keep your dough from discoloring.
Almond Cream Turnovers
- Fluted cookie cutter of 12cm
- Rolling Pin
- Parchment Paper
- 300 g flour, Type 55
- 6 g salt
- 150 ml water
- 220 g dry butter,
- 100 g butter
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 15 g vanilla extract
- 100 g egg
- 100 g powdered almonds
- 15 g Poudre à Creme, or cornstarch
- 15 g White Rum, optional
- Simple Syrup (60° brix)
- Egg yolk
- splash of cream
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
- In the bowl of a mixer, add the flour, water and salt. Mix with the dough hook until the dough just comes together, but no longer then 2 minutes. The dough will still seem coarse, but it will smooth out later.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Put the butter on a large sheet of parchment paper and start beating the butter with your rolling pin. When you have your butter square rolled out to about 12cm wide, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Roll out the dough to three times the length of the butter square. Fold the rectangle in thirds, to create a square and seal the ends with the rolling pin.
- With the seam closest to you, roll out the dough again to 20 x 60cm. Fold the rectangle in two, bringing the ends into the middle. Then fold it again in half.
- Let the dough rest in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, then proceed with another single and double fold. Let rest in the fridge for an additional 30 minutes.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl.
- Add the egg & vanilla extract and mixed until combined. It may look curddled, that's normal.
- Add the almond powder and crème à poudre. Mix until thoroughly combined and homogenous. Add the rum, if using, and mix once more.
- Transfer to a piping bag, without cutting the tip and place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes
- Roll out the chilled puff pastry to a thickness of 4-5mm (1/8 – 1/4 inch) With a large cookie cutter with fluted edges, cut out 6 circles of dough.
- Roll out the dough again, to create ovals. Lightly brush some water on one side of the oval.
- Pipe about a tbsp worth of filling to the center of each oval. Fold the dough over, sealing the edges together. Be careful not to press too hard to crush the layers, but make sure that it seals.
- Transfer to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and brush the top with egg wash. Let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F)
- Decorate the top of each turnover with the tip of a knife and make a notch in each, for steam to vent.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. If desired, brush the top of each turnover with a sugar syrup.
- Serve and enjoy!