Cherry turnovers are delicious little pastries filled with homemade cherry pie filling. Cherry turnovers are often made with pie dough or puff pastry; I make mine with an easy-to-make, rich, and tangy cream cheese dough and fill them with homemade cherry pie filling.
What is a Cherry Turnover?
A cherry turnover is a triangular pastry stuffed with cherry pie filling.
Turnovers are made by putting filling in the centers of dough squares and then folding the squares over themselves diagonally from corner to corner prior to baking baked. If made with pie dough, turnovers and hand pies are virtually identical.
The easiest turnovers are made with store-bought puff pastry dough. You can go that route and use my filling if you’d like. But, I find that making my cream cheese-based dough (the same one that I use for rugelach) is totally worth the extra effort.
How to Make Cherry Turnovers
To make cherry turnovers, you have to both make both the filling and the dough. You’ll want to make the cherry pie filling first so it has time to cool.
Homemade Cherry Pie Filling
To make the cherry filling, start with destemmed and pitted cherries.
Boil them with water, lemon juice, sugar, and orange zest, and cornstarch. The cornstarch is what will thicken the filling so it isn’t a runny liquid.
Bring the mixture to room temperature.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (about three minutes on high speed). It is very important that both of these ingredients be at room temperature. If they’re cold, they won’t mix well into the recipe.
Mix in the sugar, salt, and vanilla.
Mix in the flour until just combined.
Place the dough on a floured board and form it into a ball. Divide into two roughly equal pieces, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour. This will make it easier to roll out.
Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out each ball to a roughly 10 inch square. The dough is sticky, so be sure to flour your surface and your rolling pin really well.
Cut the rolled dough into 25 2″ squares and place approximately one teaspoon of cherry pie filling in the center of each square. If you want larger turnovers, you can double the size and double the filling! While you may be tempted to add more filling, resist. If you add too much filling, the turnovers may burst during baking.
Fold the squares diagonally to create little triangles and use a fork to crimp the edges of the triangles.
Cut a tiny slice in the top of each triangle. This lets the steam out during baking and also makes the turnovers look pretty because there will be a little cherry filling peeking through the top.
Chill the formed turnovers in the freezer for about 10 minutes. This keeps them from spreading during baking.
Bake until the turnovers are golden brown, about 20 minutes. It may take longer than 20 minutes if your turnovers are particularly cold. Although you can eat them before they brown (you won’t get sick), they are so much better when they have time to get a little crispy.
Turnovers last for about three days at room temperature. You can also freeze them in an airtight container for several months.
Other Turnover Flavor Ideas
This same turnover dough can be used to make all kinds of turnover flavors!
Here are some ideas:
- apple (Use your favorite apple pie filling or the one I use in my apple crumble pie. Chop the apples more finely than you would for a pie so that they fit in the small turnovers.
- cranberry (Try using cranberry jam!)
- cookie butter
- raspberry (Using raspberry jam works really well for this.)
- s’mores (I love that unique idea from A Latte Food!)
- root vegetables (I make my root vegetable turnovers in puff pastry, but they would also be great in this dough.)
- 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients
- 1 cup pitted cherries
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (about three minutes on high speed).
- Mix in the sugar, salt, and vanilla.
- Mix in the flour until just combined.
- Place the dough on a floured board and form it into a ball.
- Divide into two roughly equal pieces, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Cherry Pie Filling Instructions
- In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cook for another ten minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should thicken considerably.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Assembly and Baking Instructions
- Remove one of the wrapped sections of dough from the refrigerator.
- Roll out to a roughly 10" square. The dough is sticky, so be sure to flour your surface and your rolling pin really well.
- Cut the rolled dough into 25 2" squares.
- Place approximately one teaspoon of cherry pie filling in the center of each square.
- Fold the squares diagonally to create little triangles and use a fork to crimp the edges of the triangle.
- Cut a tiny slice in the top of each triangle. This lets the steam out during baking and also makes the turnovers look pretty because there will be a little cherry filling peeking through the top.
- Place the turnovers on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Repeat for the other section of dough.
- Chill the formed turnovers for about 10 minutes in the freezer to help them hold their shape during baking.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Remove cookie sheets from the freezer.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the turnovers are golden brown. It may take longer than 20 minutes if your turnovers are particularly cold. Although you can eat them before they brown (you won't get sick), they are so much better when they have time to get a little crispy. You don't want them to burn, but they should achieve the golden brown color that you see in my photo.