The other day, my sister and I were having lunch at her place. The Food Network show, Giada at Home, was on the TV in the background. I didn’t pay much attention until it came to dessert (a common theme in my life). Giada was creating these mini turnovers, a slightly sweet combination of fruit and cheese tucked into flaky refrigerated pie crust dough.
I filed the idea away in my mental recipe box. A week later, opportunity came knocking when I had the chance to work with Great Value Refrigerated Pie Crusts again. This product is such a simple kitchen shortcut. When I am short on time, refrigerated pie crusts allow me to combine a packaged crust with a homemade filling, resulting in a happy compromise of effort and flavor.
Giada used mascarpone cheese in her recipe, but I didn’t figure I’d be able to find this variety on the shelves at Walmart. I was planning to substitute cream cheese, which would work just fine if that’s what you have on hand. However, I had no problem finding tubs of mascarpone cheese at Walmart. I’d never bought it before, but when I read on the container that it was a “soft and delightful Italian sweet cream cheese,” I knew we’d get along just fine.
This recipe is open to interpretation. The original recipe calls for frying the turnovers in hot oil. After reading several reviews, I opted for baking them in the oven instead. I stuck with the lemon-blueberry combination for the first batch, then tried dark chocolate and strawberries in the second. I’ve also included a basic apple turnover recipe from Ina Garten that is simple and delicious, perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Any of these simple handheld pies would be a sweet treat for Valentine’s Day.
Fruit & Mascarpone Turnovers
Adapted from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe
1/2 c. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 T. sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 t. cornstarch
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
1/3 c. fresh or frozen and thawed blueberries (or other berry)
2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, beaten
- In a small bowl, mix together the cheese, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth. Gently fold in the blueberries.
- Unroll the pie crusts into a flat circle. Using a 3 1/2-4″ round cookie cutter, cut the pie dough into 10-12 circles. Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Place about 1 1/2 teaspoons (2-3 blueberries worth) of the cheese mixture in the center of the dough. Fold the dough in half to enclose the filling and pinch the edges to seal. Using the tines of a fork, gently crimp the sealed edges. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- While the pastry is chilling… For frying: In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.) Fry the turnovers for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar while still hot. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. For baking: Mix the remaining egg with 1 T. water. Brush the tops of the turnovers with the egg wash. Poke some holes in the tops of the turnovers with the tines of a fork. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Adapted from an Ina Garten recipe
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/4 pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith
3 T. sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top
1 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
2 (9 inch) refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine the orange zest and orange juice in a bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples and then cut them in 3/4-inch dice. Toss the apples with the zest and juice to prevent them from turning brown. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- Unroll the refrigerated pie crusts. Cut the dough into circles with a 3-4″ round cookie cutter.
- Brush the edges of each circle with the egg wash and neatly place about 1 T. of the apple mixture on half of the square. Fold the pastry over the apple mixture and seal by pressing the edges with a fork. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, pierce the tops with a fork, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.
As I was wrapping up this post, my sweet friend Debbie brought over this little Valentine’s treat, which I promptly hid from my children. You could easily make these with pie crust dough and jam or pie filling. I plan to do just that next week. Here are a few more ideas to combine refrigerated pie crusts + Valentine’s Day:
- Strawberry Nutella Poptarts — The Novice Chef
- Mini Cherry Cutie Pies — Bakerella
- Sweetheart Jamwiches — My Recipes
- Raspberry Chocolate Heart Tart — Very Best Baking
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