Although made with pie pastry, a turnover doesn’t require a special pan to shape it. In most cases, except when cut from a certain pattern such as the pastry-wrapped salmon, it actually shapes itself. Fold a square of dough in half crosswise and it becomes a rectangle; fold it on the diagonal and you have a triangle. A half-moon is made by folding a circle in half, while a fan is a half-moon set upright on its folded edge.
Like dumplings, most turnovers are a single serving, a plus for entertaining because you know exactly how many portions you will get from any one recipe. On the other hand, some of the most elegant main courses consist of meat or fish wrapped en croûte -- in a pastry case -- sized large enough to serve as many as six people. Small turnovers are perfectly sized for out-of-hand hors d’oeuvres.
Best of all, the versatile turnover couldn’t be easier to assemble: Simply roll, fill, seal, and bake!
Cutting Squares or Circles
With a small, sharp knife and a ruler as a guide, or with a floured round biscuit cutter, cut the pastry into squares or circles as directed in the recipe.
Spooning on Filling
Spread the filling in a rough triangle over half of the dough square. For a circle, arrange the filling in a half-moon shape. Leave a 1/2-inch border around the filling so the turnover can be sealed after it is folded.
Moisten the edge of the turnover with water, using a small pastry brush or a dampened finger. Fold the pastry in half. Seal by pressing the edge with the tines of a fork, working from each end to the center point.
Now that the pastry is sealed, an opening must be made somewhere on the top surface to allow steam to escape during baking. With a small, sharp knife, make several slits near the folded edge of the pastry.