Apple Turnovers (Chaussons aux Pommes)
An apple turnover is a classic pastry that has been enjoyed for centuries. And I get it, what’s not to love? These beloved sweet treats are a favorite among many, due to their flaky, buttery crust and sweet, spiced apple filling. But where did these delectable pastries come from, and when is the best time of day to be enjoying them?
Turnovers in History
Turnovers are said to have existed as far back as the Medieval period but did not grow in popularity until the 17th century. Food historians believe that turnovers were created in a small French town called Saint-Calais, which is situated in the Sarthe region. It is said that the town was suffering through a terrible epidemic, and to aid them with food supplies, the Lady of the Town, known as the chatelaine, distributed flour, butter, and apples. The townspeople made apple turnovers using the ingredients, and soon, the town’s situation slowly started to improve. In recent years, the town has begun celebrating the historic pastry during the ‘Chaussons aux Pommes’ (Apple Turnover) Festival each year.
Through the years and across continents, apple turnovers have remained a beloved pastry, especially during the fall harvest season when apples are in abundance. Traditionally eaten as a dessert or as a sweet mid-day snack, turnovers are also equally as wonderful when served as a breakfast pasty, something you see commonly in the States. Turnovers can be served warm or cold, with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream on top, with icing or straight up. Truthfully this is no wrong way, or time, to enjoy a turnover.
While the classic apple turnover recipe has remained relatively unchanged throughout the years, there are plenty of variations to suit different tastes. The more traditional ones are made with apples and a few simple spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, while others contain a richer filling such as brandy-poached fruit with dried fruit and nuts for a more complex flavor profile.
You can make these delicious apple turnovers using pie dough (as I do here) or puff pastry if you prefer a lighter, flaky pastry, both of which work perfectly. Whether you prefer your apple turnovers simple or with a twist, one thing is for sure, they are a timeless pastry that will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.