These Cherry Turnovers are a speciality of Buckinghamshire, in Southern England, (and were commonly made in the Victorian period). This is a county where wonderful local Cherries are grown in many private and commercial cherry orchards. The turnovers themselves have a light pastry top and bottom, and there are ripe, tangy-juicy cherries in the centre. Cherries have a very short growing season if you are after picking your own; the peak season for cherries is in the summer, particularly mid to late July and August.
It is essential to get seasonal and ripe cherries, (with a deep cherry taste) because this is the central flavour of what is quite a simple recipe; if buying from a shop eat one or two cherries first before buying – out of season, forced-grown cherries lack taste and can be rubbery, leave them on the shelf. Eaten warm, with some extra thick double cream, these Cherry Turnovers, made with ripe fruit, are sublime on a summer evening sat outdoors or taken with you on a picnic.
Victorian Cherry Turnover Recipe
Makes around 8 to 10
- 400g Cherries
- 130g Soft Brown Sugar
- 40g Caster sugar
- 500g Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 150g Lard (softened)
- 100g Butter (softened)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- cold water to mix (2 or 3 tbsp)
- 1 Egg yolk (beaten)
- extra thick double cream
Grease a baking tray with a little butter.
Start by washing, de-stalking and de-stoning the ripe cherries, (use a cherry or olive stoner, or cut them out with a knife) then cut them in half. Put the prepared cherries in a bowl and sprinkle over around 75% of the soft brown sugar.
Into a mixing bowl cut the softened lard and butter into small pieces and then lightly rub them into the sieved flour, baking powder and salt that you have added. Once made into ‘breadcrumbs’ add the water a little at a time and mix into a stiff paste. The pastry needs to be silky, but not sticky, add in more flour and knead it in if it feels sticky. Put the pastry covered into the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
Take the pastry from the fridge after 20 minutes and on a floured work surface roll out the pastry to a thickness of around 4mm and cut out several rounds with a 10cm pastry cutter – re-shape and re-roll out any left over pastry after cutting the discs out. One round disc will be for the turnover bottom, another for the top. After cutting them out use the palm of your hand to gently flatten the discs which will be the tops, and make them a little bit bigger to help stretch over the filling. (Tip: having a thinner pastry top makes these turnovers very light to bite into).
Preheat the oven 200C
Put about 8 to 10 cherries halves on each of the pastry round disc bottoms, cover liberally with a pinch of the remaining soft brown sugar, leaving a margin of 1 cm around the edges, which is moistened with the beaten egg. Turn over a pastry top to cover the filling and pinch the edges together of the two pastry discs firmly. Brush the top of the turnover with some more of the beaten egg and sprinkle over some fine caster sugar.
Place each of the Cherry Turnovers onto the greased baking tray and put them into the oven to bake for 30 minutes at 200C or until the pastry is fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a cooling rack.
Serve: These can be eaten hot or cold, with or without cream, but a dollop of extra thick double cream really sets these Cherry Turnovers off when you bite into them.