Time for a turnover.
Byline: stephen jacksonCHEF AND CO-OWNER, T&CAKE CAFE, ALMONDBURY
THIS week, we are back to the world of rhubarb, one of my absolute favourite ingredients.
There's still plenty of Yorkshire forced around, and it won't be long before we are into the thicker maincrop stalks, full of their wonderful tart flavour.
They may be a bit more labourintensive, but those big chunks are absolute heaven in a pie or crumble. I was reminded, when in Leeds recently, of the beauty of Yorkshire rhubarb, as I passed by a poster for an exhibition at the wonderful Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. It's a series called The Rhubarb Triangle & Other Stories by artist and photographer Martin Parr, and features the people and locations of rhubarb farms in the famous area between Leeds, Wakefield and Castleford where this incredible crop is grown.
The poster featured a bearded man holding a huge armful of beautiful pink stems, and it has been stuck in my mind since. The exhibition is at The Hepworth until June, so there's plenty of time to go - I must pop along, and I hope you will too. If they're really switched on, the gallery cafe ought to be serving up some rhubarb-based treats, and today's recipe would make an excellent addition to such a special event. Today we're making rhubarb turnovers, combining the tart, piquant fruit with the richness of cream cheese, wrapped in a thick fold of crumbly pastry.
Turnovers are perhaps the ultimate snacky food, easily eaten on the hoof, or more politely with cutlery as part of a more formal light lunch or supper. They exist in almost every culinary culture around the world, generally in very much the same format, from the empanadas of South America to the knish of Israel, from Turkey's spicy borek to the curried goat patties of Jamaica.
Essentially it's a square of pastry, be it puff, flaky or shortcrust, filled and folded before being baked to deep golden perfection. Our own pasties are similar, but it's the simplicity of the turnover that appeals, and this recipe is a doddle. It's one definitely worth having a go at and adapting to your own preferences.
The pastry is a sort of rough flaky recipe, and it was my first time trying it. I will definitely do so again, because it's brilliant. As you'll see, it couldn't be easier to make up, and it's very pliable and eager to please.
As a man with incredibly warm hands, I have found pastry-making to be a troublesome process a lot of the time, especially when making temperature-reliant butter-based things. It's always constant trips to the fridge and plunging hands into iced water for me!
But this pastry comes together into a very amenable dough which allows for all that rolling and folding with ease.
I look forward to using it in both sweet and savoury recipes in future. I imagine it would make a lovely classic apple turnover, or maybe with pears or raspberries, but it would also go well with a savoury filling like chicken and mushroom, curried meats, or cheese and onion.
You just have to make sure the mixture isn't too wet before it goes in, as it could leak through any gaps.
And of course, whilst these rhubarb turnovers are a lovely afternoon treat with a cup of tea, they would also round off a meal very nicely with a scoop of clotted cream, or even a decadent vanilla icecream.