These cute, little appetizers caught my eye when they appeared in the December issue of Living magazine. They looked like the kind of bite-sized food that would be popular at a party, so I made them for Oscars night. Sadly, I was once again completely wrong about all of my Oscar win predictions, but I was right about these mini turnovers. They’re kind of like everyone’s favorite artichoke dip tucked into pockets of puff pastry. The filling is a bechamel into which parmesan and pecorino are melted before the chopped artichokes are added, and it’s cooled and allowed to set up a bit before it’s used. Even though there are a few steps involved in preparing these, they can be made in stages. Once they’re all assembled, they can sit in the freezer until you’re ready to bake them. The quantities in the original recipe result in about 70 turnovers which is quite a lot. That’s great for a big party, but for a smaller gathering, you might want to cut the recipe in half or leave some in the freezer for another time. And, speaking of that original recipe, I wasn’t able to find it online, so I’ll include it below.
The sauce started with melted butter and minced shallot and garlic. Flour was added, and then white wine was whisked into the roux. Once reduced a bit, milk was whisked into the sauce and when it thickened, the chopped artichoke hearts, shredded parmesan and pecorino, some thyme, and lemon zest were added. I actually made the filling a day in advance, so once it was cool, I stored it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I rolled a sheet of puff pastry out to just over 15 inches by 21 inches and cut it into 35 three-inch square pieces. A tablespoon of filling was placed in the center of each square. The pastry was folded over the filling into a triangle and then two corners were folded in to meet in the center making a neat packet. When all 35 were filled, they were placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet and placed in the freezer, and the process was repeated with a second sheet of puff pastry. They were baked straight from the freezer after being brushed with egg wash.
They came out of the oven golden and flakey, looking like ideal partners for cocktails, and the wine, lemon zest, and thyme in the filling gave it more interesting flavor than the stand-by artichoke dip. They were one of the big winners of the night since they were long gone well before best picture was announced.
Mini Artichoke Turnovers
from December 2010 Living
4 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup whole milk, warmed
salt and pepper
3 cups canned artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and chopped
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 packages all butter, frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
-Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and add shallot and garlic and cook for one minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Whisk while slowly pouring in the wine and allow to cook until reduced by half, about two minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil, and allow to thicken while stirring. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
-Remove from heat and stir in artichoke hearts, cheeses, thyme, and lemon zest. Let cool completely, and refrigerate until ready to use.
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out puff pastry to a 1/8 inch thickness, about 15 inches by 21 inches, on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 35 3-inch squares.
-Arrange 1 tablespoon artichoke mixture in the center of each square. Brush two perpendicular edges with water, and fold over to form a triangle and press to seal. Brush a corner of the triangle with water and join it to the opposite point to form a little folded-in packet. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Or, freeze for up to two months.)
-Brush turnovers with egg wash. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.