Sunday, September 25, 2011

Feeling Fallish

Fall........How I love you! Your crisp air, the beautiful colors on the trees, no more paying for air conditioning, and of course the smell of apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg might have something to do with it as well! Fall really is my favorite time of the year. One other thing I love is that in the fall our small group starts back up on Sunday nights. These are dear friends of ours that I have truly grown to cherish and love. I look forward to getting together with them for Bible study and fellowship for sure but if I am being honest it might have something to do with the food we eat on Sunday nights! We FEAST! We have incredible cooks in our group and it is so fun! So for tonight I made a Greek quinoa salad because you all know how much I love Greek food and quinoa and I made some apple phyllo turnovers!

I am hoping we don't eat it all tonight because I want the leftovers for my lunch! I love this new bowl I got this week when I went shopping with girlfriends in the Cities. It is the perfect size for salads.

Now onto what you really care about, the apple turnovers, right? I did make them a bit healthier than the average bear would but they taste every bit as wonderful! I mean what I say this time! You would never be able to tell that this is missing anything. I will report back after my small group gives me the final verdict!
(So since I didn't get this posted before small group the verdict is in and they all loved them!)

So start by peeling 4 or 5 apples and coring them. I used my apple slicer to make quicker work of this. It doesn't really matter what kind of apple you use. I think I used a mix of Gala and Zestari. Then dice them up fairly small.

Tip: Put them in a pot of water with a couple lemon halves while you dice so they don't discolor and wilt. I pulled that lemon right out of there when I was done and saved it so I wasn't being wasteful and so I could use it this week some time!

Then you need to drain the water and put the apples back into the pot. Now you need to add some flavor to the pot! This time I used about 1/2 cup Sucanat instead of sugar.

Sucanat stands for sugar cane natural and is dehydrated cane juice. It is made by crushing freshly cut sugar cane,extracting the juice, and heating it in a large vat. It is then hand paddled to cool and dry the syrup. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out! Basically it is a much less refined sugar with a great rich molasses flavor. So it is a little better for you. Add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, a teaspoon of nutmeg, about 1/4 cup water, and if it isn't sweet enough for you a little Stevia. Cook and stir the apples for about 10-15 minutes until they are soft and a simple syrup has formed with them.

Here is what they should look like.

I wanted to have a thicker syrup to drizzle over the finished turnovers so I actually added a little cornstarch to thicken this up a bit. Then I put the apples in the fridge last night so I could make the turnovers today a little more quickly.

Now you might need a little phyllo dough lesson! Phyllo is a paper thin kind of dough that is quite flaky, layered, and crispy when cooked. It is also spelled several different ways.

This is the one I buy and the great thing about it is that it is made with wheat flour!

Take it out of the freezer and let it thaw out and then unroll it carefully. It tears quite easily but is also very forgiving since you want flaky layers anyway. I cut the sheets of phyllo in half and cover up the ones I am not working with because they will dry out. You need to spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and then you need to get a brush and some olive oil ready and begin the folding process.

Fold the top third down and brush the whole thing with olive oil.

Add a dollop of the filling on the left corner leaving a bit of space on the left side.

Fold the bottom third up over the filling and brush with olive oil again.

Begin the triangle fold by pulling the top left corner down.

Then fold the tip up so it looks like this and continue folding the triangle down and up until you get to the end. You might need to tuck the filling in a little bit with your fingers on the first couple folds if it is coming out. By the last fold though it is all secured nicely.

Don't worry if it tears a little. Do you see the little flakes on the cutting board I have? All those tears get hidden between the layers.

Sometimes I get a perfect little triangle and sometimes I have a little edge left that I tuck inside or under or just leave it out if you don't want to fuss with it.

Place the finished triangles on the cookie sheet. When you have used up all your apples then brush the outside of the triangles one more time with a little olive oil for a nice golden crust or butter if you desire.
Bake them at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. My oven always takes longer but start checking at 20 minutes. You are really just looking for them to start turning golden and they will be done and oh so delicious!

I actually got about 35 of these out of my batch of apples. I topped some with the leftover syrup from cooking the apples and some with a little cinnamon sugar.

That is a delicious little portion of goodness for sure! Thank you fall for arriving to share your wonderful treats but could you please stay longer than expected this time?

P.S. There are lots of other things I like to put inside a phyllo triangle like veggies, spinach, meat, etc. Just about anything will taste great! So if you don't want something sweet because you are crazy try something savory.

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