Basic turnovers

Basic turnovers

Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Fillings must be completely cold when the pastry is folded around them.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity * plain shortcrust pastry [rid:5323]
or 1 quantity * rich shortcrust pastry [rid:4692]
or 1 quantity sweet shortcrust pastry
or 1 quantity Cream cheese pastry
or 1 quantity Sour cream pastry
or 1 quantity see method for ingredients
or 375g frozen puff pastry, thawed
filling of your choice, (see recipe)
egg or egg white, lightly beaten
caster sugar, (for sweet turnovers only)


  1. Roll out dough 5 mm thick and cut it into squares or circles of desired size. Mound chosen filling in centre of one-half of each piece of pastry (a triangular half for squares). Use about 1½ tablespoons filling for 10 cm turnovers, 1 tablespoon filling for 8 cm turnovers. Brush edges with egg, fold other half over and press edges to seal.
  2. If using rough puff pastry, lightly tap cut edges. If using shortcrust, cream cheese or sour cream pastry, press round sealed edges with tines of a fork or point of a teaspoon for a decorative effect. Place turnovers on greased baking trays and chill for 20 minutes. Brush savoury turnovers with beaten egg; sweet ones with beaten egg white, then sprinkle over caster sugar.
  3. Cut 2 or 3 slits in tops to allow steam to escape and bake in a preheated oven until pastry is golden brown. Bake shortcrust, rough puff or puff pastry turnovers at 230°C and cream cheese or sour cream pastry turnovers at 200°C.
  4. Turnovers may also be deep-fried. Shape as described above, but do not cut slits in pastry. Chill for 20 minutes. Heat oil in a deep-fryer until a small piece of pastry will brown in 1 minute. Place turnovers in a frying basket, fry for about 5 minutes or until golden, then drain on crumpled paper towels and serve hot.


  • Cheese and tomato: Peel, seed and chop 2 large tomatoes and mix together well with 1 tablespoon fresh breadcrumbs, 4 tablespoons grated cheese, 1 tablespoon grated onion, 1 beaten egg, salt and pepper.

    Savoury mince: Chop 1 small onion and fry, without extra fat, with 250 g hamburger mince, breaking the meat down with a fork. When meat has changed colour, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons flour and stir until brown. Add 60 ml water or beef stock, 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Stir until thickened. Add 2 teaspoons chopped parsley or other fresh herbs, a pinch dried herbs, or 1/2 small carrot, grated, may be added. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then cool.

    Cooked or tinned fish, meat or chicken: Flake or chop finely and mix with your choice of chopped tomato, celery, herbs, green pepper, grated onion, mustard or grated lemon zest. Add just enough chutney, cream, plain yoghurt, mayonnaise, gravy or any suitable sauce you may have to moisten slightly. Season well with salt and pepper. Half a thick slice of the softer type of Continental sausage, spread with Dijon mustard, is excellent too, or, for tiny party turnovers, rolled, stuffed anchovy seasoned with pepper and a few drops of lemon juice.

    Vegetable: Sliced mushrooms or chopped cooked vegetables are good mixed with chopped herbs or grated cheese and seasoned well with salt and pepper. Moisten slightly, as for meat fillings, if needed.

    Fruit: Use apples or pears, stewed or thinly sliced and sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice; or use berries or other fresh or tinned fruits. Drain tinned fruits well.

    Dried fruit: Use fruit mincemeat or raisins, sultanas or mixed dried fruit, sprinkled with brown sugar and lemon juice.

    Cream cheese or ricotta: Use cream cheese, or ricotta cheese mixed with a little cream. Sweeten to taste with brown or white sugar, then add your choice of flavourings: ground cinnamon, cardamom or mixed spice, brandy or rum, chopped dried or glacé fruits, grated orange or lemon zest.

    Jam or lemon cheese: Use a good berry jam, apricot jam (which may be mixed with slivered almonds), marmalade sprinkled with cinnamon or a few drops of orange liqueur, or lemon cheese.
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