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Use this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to make lots of desserts

I plan on upholding the tradition of having one too many pies, even this year.
Apple turnover
Apple turnover [ MICHELLE STARK | Times ]
Published Nov. 20, 2020

Remember when we were all staying home and baking a lot? Let’s channel that energy this holiday season.

I am having a very low-key Thanksgiving this year, choosing to spend it virtually with family instead of in person due to the pandemic.

In some cases, that means scaling back on the food. But I have decided to not skimp on dessert. I like options, and I plan on upholding the tradition of having one too many pies, even this year.

Pies are not the only thing on my dessert menu. I do plan on making at least two. In recent years I have come to love a pie with a tart curd, like cranberry or lemon. That plus something classic and festive like pumpkin (or maybe pecan?) should do the trick.

But I also want different textures and flavors, so I started to think about other treats that wouldn’t be too difficult to make but still fulfill that craving.

First, I turned to cookies. I usually don’t start making tons of cookies till December, but what is time in 2020 if not completely meaningless? I thought a spice cookie might be nice with the fall flavors of a Thanksgiving meal, so I’m adding a classic gingersnap cookie to the menu. Ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, molasses — a perfect little bite for Thanksgiving Day, whether before (breakfast!) or after the meal.

The other thing I plan on making is a turnover, which has more of a pastrylike feel. Store-bought puff pastry makes it much less of a lift than something like pie, though, which is great if you’re planning to make an obnoxious amount of desserts on Thursday, ahem.

Using spiced, roasted apples as the filling makes this even more of a fit for Thanksgiving. The addition of almond paste layered onto the puff pastry adds flavor and some good texture, but it isn’t totally necessary. It is available in most grocery stores, though.

Practice this one now, and then make it again next year when you’re able to invite the whole crew over as an alternative to the pies everyone will bring. It’s a lovely looking dessert, and when cut into slices it freezes and travels really well. You know, for when it’s totally safe to travel again.

Spiced Apple Turnover

3 large Pink Lady apples, peeled, halved and cored

½ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (14-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

All-purpose flour (for dusting)

3 ½ ounces almond paste

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg, beaten to blend

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Vanilla ice cream (for serving; optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place apples in a large baking dish and add vinegar, brown sugar and ¾ cup water; stir in vanilla. Toss to coat apples and roast, turning apples occasionally and adding a splash of water if pan looks dry at any point, until apples are tender and starting to brown and juices are syrupy, 35 to 40 minutes. Let apples cool in pan.

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Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 14- by 11-inch rectangle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, placing a short end nearest to you.

Roll out almond paste on a lightly floured surface to about a 4- by 11-inch rectangle and place lengthwise on the left-hand side of pastry, leaving a 1 ½-inch border on the left side.

Arrange apple halves in a single row, slightly overlapping, on top of almond paste and drizzle any pan juices over. Dot apples with butter and fold a long side of pastry up and over apples to create a long rectangle. Using a fork, crimp all open edges firmly to seal; trim crimped sides just enough to tidy edges.

Whisk egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and brush pastry with egg wash; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Cut several slits in top of the puff pastry to vent. Bake turnover, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until pastry is puffed and deeply browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Serve slices of turnover with scoops of ice cream, if desired.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit