“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” C.G. Jung
It’s the last limping steps of summer in our neck of the woods. We’ve been sneaking in as many beach days as possible, while slowly moving into long-sleeved tshirts, thicker duvets and autumn produce.
I love this time of year. I love autumn clothes, I love autumn food, I love that my Englishness feels increasingly comfortable as sunrises arrive later and the weather cools, I love that Melbourne sits in comfortably warm temperatures for many weeks yet. I love the anticipation of switching our summer wardrobes for winter ones; the gorgeous coat I haven’t worn for months, the new dress I bought for this Australian winter while in England last October. I love discussing the turning of leaves from green to gold with my son, the first time he’s been consciously aware of the change in season.
Coincidently in line with this, I’m embracing all manner of change at the moment. My mood’s increasingly one of willingness to live a little differently, a little bolder. I’m no longer pushing down the rainbow of colours that flood through me, the parts I may have been embarrassed to show previously. I’m more anxious than I’d care to admit, and often more neurotic. Certainly more fragile than I’ve ever allowed myself to openly show. These have always seemed like negative traits, the dark sides I wished away and tried to whitewash and replace with characteristics I once decided (and who knows when or how) were more acceptable.
I was standing outside my home yesterday, staring at a flat tyre on my car and wondering what comes next. Conversely, my friend was rummaging around in the boot, pulling out metal contraptions and wheels, asking where I keep my jack. Ummmmm… Moments later, two local boys came around the corner and asked if they could help and between the three of them I had a new tyre on my car within 10 minutes. The old me wouldn’t have let them do it, I’d have been ashamed that I’m not very practical and would’ve tried to hide it by assuring them I had it all under control. Yesterday, I let them help. And today I thanked them by baking for them. Practical I am not, but I know my way around an oven… So they got to feel good for helping, I got to practice honesty and humility by letting them and we all get some food.
Sounds like a fully coloured life to me.
These creamy and sweet turnovers are a simple go-to on those days when a warm tummy is entirely welcome at any time. The soft goat cheese is the flavours’ foundation, tangy and decadently creamy; while the elderflower dances on taste buds with its cheerily floral notes; and right in the middle is the timeless combination of buttery, hot apples and a light flaky pastry. I like to sprinkle mine with sesame seeds before I pop them into the oven as the hint of smokiness adds an even great depth to this delicious combination of flavours.
- 800g (1.75lb) or 5 sheets of ready made puff pastry
- 1kg (2.2lb) green apples (about 10 small apples), I use Granny Smith, only because we don’t get Bramley or Cox apples in Australia’s woefully limited varieties. If you can find something tarter, go for it
- 75g (3oz) brown sugar
- 3 tbl sp elderflower cordial
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 75g (3oz) unsalted butter
- 100g (3.5oz) Chèvre (fresh goat cheese)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 tbl sp sesame seeds
Peel, quarter and core the apples before cutting each quarter into four (quarter them again)
Heat the butter in a frying pan over high heat until foaming
Add the apple, half the sugar, elderflower cordial and vanilla and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces to gooey sweetness
Transfer to a heatproof bowl and set aside for 15 minutes to cool
Stir through the rest of the sugar, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until chilled
Preheat oven to 200˚C / 390˚F and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
Roll out half the pastry, using a lightly floured rolling pin, until about 2mm thick. Use an 8cm-diameter (about 3 inches) round pastry cutter to cut 12 discs from the pastry (if you’re using the ready-rolled stuff, you’ll need two sheet for this)
Place the pastry discs on the prepared baking tray
Pile 2 tablespoon of the apple mixture onto each pastry disc before dotting with the goat cheese and placing in the fridge (this can be a balancing act but trust me, it’s worth it!).
Roll out the remaining pastry until about 2mm thick. Use a 10cm-diameter (about 4 inches) round pastry cutter to cut 12 discs from the pastry (3 sheets of the ready rolled pastry). Brush the edge of each disc with the beaten egg
Remove the tray from the fridge and place the larger pastry discs on top of the apple mixture. Gently press the edges of the pastry discs together
Brush the pastry tops with egg and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds
Cut a small slit in the top of each turnover before baking for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden
Serve with cream or vanilla ice-cream, if desired