Date Night!! Turkey Turnovers and Pumpkin Cake

This was our most recent Date Night, it was kind of a preview for Thanksgiving.  I have a lot of shredded cooked turkey breast meat in my freezer, and I’ve been slowly using it up.  These turnovers used puff pastry, and they were really delicious!  The recipe suggested pairing them with store-bought cranberry sauce, but I really don’t groove on that stuff, so I made a homemade cranberry chutney instead. The turkey turnovers came from the book “Food Network Favorites.” I made a simple spinach salad to go on the side. I highly recommend making these after Thanksgiving if you have some leftover turkey meat!

TURKEY TURNOVERS
Ingredients:
2 tbs unsalted butter
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
3 tbs cognac or other brandy
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 1/2 cups cooked turkey meat, shredded or cut into bite-size chunks
2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed *

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and mushrooms are browned. Carefully add the cognac (if using a gas flame, turn it off first!) and simmer until slightly syrupy. Add the cream and mustard, bring to a boil, and cook until it thickens slightly. Stir in the turkey and remove from the heat. Let it cool while you prepare the puff pastry.
Lay 1 sheet of pastry on a floured cutting board. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut the pastry in half diagonally. Moisten the edges with water. Mound 1/4 of the turkey mushroom mixture into the center of each diagonal. Fold over to make a triangle. Seal the edges shut and crimp with a fork. Repeat with the three remaining diagonals you have. Place the triangles on the baking sheet, then brush each top with cream. Use a small paring knife to cut a couple of slits on top of each triangle, to let steam escape. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with cranberry sauce or cranberry chutney, recipe below!

* Thaw your puff pastry in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Don’t do what I did, and get impatient about it. The two pastries will be nearly impossible to separate, and your turnovers won’t be as pretty.

CRANBERRY CHUTNEY

This will probably seem like an odd pairing with the turnovers, since this is an Indian chutney using the American ingredients of cranberries. But it worked really nicely! This chutney recipe came from Padma Lakshmi’s book, “Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet.” I love this book!

Ingredients:
4 tbs canola oil
24 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen (I used frozen, so I will write it as I made it)
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp cayenne powder
Salt
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp asafetida powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Directions:
Heat the oil on medium heat and add the cranberries, stirring intermittently. You don’t have to thaw them first. The entire process will take thirty to forty minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cayenne and salt.
In a small skillet over low heat, lightly toast the fenugreek seeds, then grind them in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Place in a small bowl, and combine with the asafetida and turmeric powders.
Halfway through the cooking time, add the first spice combo to the cranberries. Stir. About five minutes later, add the second spice combo. Stir. The cranberries are done when they have burst and the mixture is a thick paste.

Now on to DESSERT! I absolutely love pumpkin in the fall and winter, whether it’s a savory or sweet dish. However, this was my first time to make pumpkin cake. I’ve made pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin muffins, but never before pumpkin cake. I thought it was time to correct that! I found this recipe in the Oct/Nov issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. It was really rich and scrumptious. The cake was super moist and flavorful, and the frosting was really interesting. The nut crunch helped cut the richness, and overall, it was just really, really good!

PUMPKIN CAKE

Ingredients:
Cake:
15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tbs salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk

Topping:
1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter
2/3 cup pecans
1/2 cup unsalted, raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tbs brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs chopped crystallized ginger

Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Directions:
Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans.
Melt butter in a 1 quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter is a nutty golden brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and buttermilk until very well blended. Gently stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and bake for 28 minutes. Make sure a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for ten minutes, then cool completely on a plate.

Topping:
Melt butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and cook until they brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and stir for 2 minutes. The sugar will melt and glaze the nuts. Stir in the ginger. Remove from the heat and cool, stirring occasionally or it will stick together.

Frosting:
Melt the butter in a 1 quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 4 minutes until it turns a nutty golden brown. Pour into a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer bowl to the freezer and chill for 18 minutes. Use a spoon to scrape out the butter from the bowl, leaving the solids at the bottom of the bowl. Discard the solids.
Use an electric mixer to combine the browned butter, cream cheese and brown sugar on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until fluffy and combined.
Assemble the cake: Put one cake on a cake plate. Spread 1/2 cup of frosting on the top. If desired, sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nut mixture over the frosting. (I skipped this step). Place second cake on top of first cake. Use the rest of the frosting to frost the top and sides of the entire cake. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture. Serve immediately or top with a cake dome. Enjoy!

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About jwall915

I love to cook and I love to travel! This blog explores my love of both. I share recipes and restaurant reviews, and I blog the trips I take.
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