My roommate has spent the years that I’ve known her vehemently protesting eating cherries because they “tasted like medicine.” I had to constantly tell her that only cherry medicine tasted like medicine, but she would not be swayed. About a year ago, I had her try a real cherry, and she was very surprised to find out that it didn’t, in fact, taste like cough syrup. “See?” I told her smugly. “I told you so.”
Still over the last year since discovering the truly deliciousness of real cherries, she was still hard-pressed to eat them much. Until the other day when she surprised me by bringing home a couple of pounds of cherries. First off, this surprised me because usually cherries are $4.99/lb or more. Our local grocery chain apparently had them, however, for $1.77/lb! The second surprise was that my roommate wanted me to bake something with them that she would eat! Now, I’ve never baked anything with fresh cherries, so I was trying to figure out something (other than cherry pie, which I love, but there’s just two of us) to bake.
I figured it out. I still had a sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry in the freezer as well as some leftover cream cheese icing that I’d used for red velvet cupcakes a while back, and it was still good and delicious. So I decided to fly by the seat of my pants and without a recipe try my hand at cherry-cream cheese turnovers.
Guess what. *grins*
Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry — 1 sheet makes 4 small pastries
Cherries – 10-25, depending on how many pastries, removed from stems, pitted, and cut
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp water
Cream cheese, either plain or made into icing (essentially, cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar and vanilla) — I’d say 2 big spoonfuls
1 egg, beaten (to brush on pastries once they’re put together)
1-2 tbsp Sugar in the Raw (to sprinkle on pastries before they go into the oven)
1. Thaw the puff pastry sheet and carefully unfold it. Follow the instructions on the box (watch for tears or cracks in the pastry and if there are some, just wet your finger and gently push the pastry back together until it sticks). The pastry will have three “rows” because of the way it was folded up. Take a sharp knife and cut the pastry halfway through the center row so that you have two sheets. Place those on a cookie sheet that you’ve sprayed lightly (very lightly!) with Pam. Once you have those strips on the cookie sheet, cut each one in half so that they’ll make four pastries.
2. Take your cherries and remove the stems and cut them so that you can remove the pits. Place the pitted cherries into a small sauce pan on the stove and add the white sugar and water. Heat on a medium-medium high heat, stirring frequently until the cherries soften and a slightly thick syrup forms.
3. Place the sweetened cream cheese into a metal bowl, and when the cherries are finished, pour them and the syrup over the cream cheese. The heat will soften the cream cheese mixture, which will make it easier for you to mix them together. Stir together until the cherries and cream cheese are blended together.
4. Spoon the cherry-cream cheese mixture into the center of the pastry squares. It’s best to do this diagonally because you’re going to fold these over into triangles. You could probably do them as rectangles, and they would work just as well. I just chose to do them as triangles. Once you’ve spooned out all the filling, set the bowl aside to be washed. Then go back to your pastries and fold them into the triangles as mentioned. Press down on the edges to seal them. I even twisted the corners a little to make sure they’d stay sealed. Using a pastry brush, brush with the beaten egg then sprinkle with the Sugar in the raw.
5. Place in the oven at 400° for 15 minutes or until the pastry is flaky and lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two (filling will be hot!). It also might ooze out a little as it did with mine, but that might mean I put a little too much in each pastry. Whatever the case, this is how lovely they should look (oozing notwithstanding):
And finally, serve them with milk, coffee, or as I did, a cup of tea. My tea of choice with this dessert happened to be hot Irish Breakfast with just a little sugar and milk. YUM!