As busy as I've been, the last thing I needed to do was join another baking group. But that's what I've done. When I discovered Sweet Melissa Sundays, I really had no intention of joining. Where would I find the time? I barely have enough time as it is keeping up with Tuesdays with Dorie and The Daring Bakers.
That all changed when I saw that Lorelei, founder of Sweet Melissa Sundays, was giving away a free copy of the book to anyone who wanted to join the group. I had wanted to get The Sweet Melissa Baking Book for quite some time, so I entered the giveaway, thinking I probably wouldn't win anyway. Well, lo and behold, it was my lucky day because I ended up winning the book! So, that's how I ended up as part of this group.
While I'm excited to be a part of this group, I'm afraid that I most likely won't be able to participate weekly in it like I do with Tuesdays with Dorie. My schedule is already super busy, then add to that the fact that we're supposed to post on Sundays. I do the majority of my baking on Sunday and Monday, so that makes it harder for me to post on schedule each week for this group. And because I joined Tuesdays with Dorie first, when things get busy, I'll always bake for Tuesdays with Dorie before I do for Sweet Melissa Sundays. I do hope to bake along with the group at least once or twice a month, though. Now on to the featured recipe...
This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays (SMS) recipe was chosen by Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures: Caramel Apple Turnovers with Sweet Ricotta Filling. If you know me, you know that I love anything with fruit in it, especially apples. I could eat an apple crumb pie every day if I had to. So I was really looking forward to trying this recipe.
At first glance, the recipe looks really simple - and it is, but it definitely took longer than I had initially anticipated. There are three components to this recipe - the apple filling, ricotta filling, and the puff pastry.
For the apple filling, you caramelize some sugar and then toss in the apples and cook until they are tender and soft. I have caramelized sugar plenty of times before, but I swear this seemed to take forever. I'm guessing this was because the heat was set to low. I started to get impatient and actually turned my heat up to medium-low, and I think it took at least 15-25 minutes before it became amber. Otherwise, this step was really easy. I also sprinkled some cinnamon over my apples because it just didn't feel right to be cooking apples without cinnamon!
The ricotta filling is easy enough, too, though it does require some planning ahead. You need to strain the moisture out of the ricotta overnight in a cheesecloth, but once that is done the filling takes just a few minutes to prepare. I have to admit that I did not notice this step when I first looked at the recipe, and when I went to make it earlier this afternoon, I was mad at myself that I had not started this last night. I simply took the ricotta and squeezed it to the death in the cheesecloth and that seemed to work okay. I was able to get out quite a bit of moisture that way.
Thankfully this recipe uses store bought puff pastry, but make sure you set it out to thaw ahead of time, as it takes about 40 minutes to do so.
Assembly of the turnovers is simple, though I have a tendency to want to over stuff mine, so filling starts to ooze everywhere. I had a lot of filling leftover, probably enough to make an additional 3-4 turnovers.
These were delicious! I was pleasantly surprised at how prominent the orange flavor was from the orange zest in the ricotta filling. It complemented the caramel apple filling well. My husband thought that these were too sweet, but I didn't think so at all. I love that you can make the apple and ricotta fillings ahead of time, and just assemble these the day of. Even better, you can make them from start to finish and just freeze them before baking so they're ready to bake whenever you have a craving :)
Thanks Tracey, for choosing this recipe - I love turnovers and will definitely be making this again! If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you visit the SMS Blogroll to see what everyone else thought about this appley treat!
* Recipe tips:
- Save time by starting your water/sugar on the heat first before peeling/chopping your apples. I still had to wait for my sugar to caramelize even after I had finished with the apples.
- Make sure you DO NOT STIR your water/sugar mixture while you are waiting for it to caramelize - you will end up with big sugar crystals if you do. - I dusted my turnovers with tons of cinnamon sugar, but still had some leftover. You can reduce the amount by 25% and waste less.
- Seal your turnovers shut with the tines of a fork - you'll get a better seal that way.
- I totally forgot to vent my turnovers (oops!) but apparently they still turned out okay.
- Keep a close eye on your turnovers - I checked mine at 39 minutes (6 minutes early) and they had already started to burn!
- For more tips, click here.