Recently, I had the chance to volunteer in organizing and running several days of activities for youth in my area. I am so grateful that the current incidents of COVID-19 in my area made this possible. One of the activities we did was to have a cooking competition. We didn’t have access to ovens or stovetops, so instead each group was given an electric griddle. I went on a grocery shopping spree and we had lots of wonderful (and random) ingredients to work with. My team had the brilliant idea to make turnovers (using biscuit dough from a tin) with plums, coconut, and limes. And to top it all off we made a browned butter lime icing. For not having a recipe and only using an electric griddle it was shockingly delicious.
I have been itching to recreate these plum turnovers in my own kitchen and after a few attempts I think I’ve nailed it! These turnovers have the balance of sweet and tart that I love. Plum is the main flavor in this pastry but it is well supported by lime, coconut, and browned butter. And the crunch! I love a baked good with a nice crunch and a soft center.
You will probably have a little extra filling when after making these turnovers. I put the leftover coconut in a bag and save it for the next time I use toasted coconut. And I put the plum filling in a jar in the fridge and use it like jam. It is delightful. For transparency, this is how much filling I had leftover this time around.
A Few Tips
Here are just a few tips to help with this recipe.
- Keep the plums chunky when you’re cutting them up. They are going to cook down a lot and you want them to still have some texture when the plum turnovers are done.
- Toast the coconut in a saucepan on the stove on low heat. You won’t forget about it so easily and you’ll stir it more frequently.
- Use a cereal or soup bowl to cut out the pastry circles. Seriously, who has a cookie cutter this big? I know I don’t. I just used the largest size of soup bowl I had to cut out the circles.
- Wet one edge of the pastry with water before you fill it. This will help seal your pastry and avoid some leaks. I just use my finger to wet the edge before I press the two sides together to make that classic turnover shape.
- Make a well in the center of the coconut when filling the turnovers. This will help hold the filling in place when you fold the pastry over.
- Once you add the plum filling, work fast! Seriously, go very quickly or it will leak everywhere.
- Wait until the pastries are completely cool before icing. Otherwise, the icing will run all over the place.
Plum Turnovers with Coconut and Lime
For the Filling
- 2 cups coconut (sweetened)
- 3 cups diced plums
- 2 limes (zest)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Pastry
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups cold butter
- 6-8 tablespoons ice cold water
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
For the Icing
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 lime (zest)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
For the Filling
- Toast the coconut until golden and crispy. Set aside.
- Roughly dice the plums. I cut them into eighths and then cut those pieces into halves. Big chunks are fine at this stage because they will cook down quite a bit. Add 3 cups of diced plums and the zest from two limes to a large saucepan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons corn starch and 1 cup of sugar. Then add to the plum mixture and stir well. Taste the plums. They should still be tart but not puckeringly so. If it is too tart stir in additional sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until it tastes good to you. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until it is thickened. Set aside.
For the Pastry
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 4 cups flour, ¼ cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Cut in the 1½ cups of butter until the consistency is like coarse sand (a food processor works great for this if you have one).
- Add the 6-8 tablespoons of ice cold water (it must be cold!) and stir it with a fork until a rough dough forms (if it isn't forming a dough, add more water one tablespoon at a time).
- Knead the dough until smooth and divide into two equal pieces. Cover one piece and put it in the fridge. Roll out the other piece to ⅛" thickness and cut 7½" diameter circles (or use your largest soup/cereal bowl). After you cut out each circle, place it on parchment paper and put it in the fridge.
Assembling the Turnovers
- Put 2 tablespoons of the toasted coconut and a scant ¼ cup of plum filling in each circle of pastry and seal by pressing the edges with a fork. If you're having trouble sealing your pastry, try brushing the edges with water first.
- Place the turnovers on the prepared baking pans. Prick holes in each turnover. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush each turnover with the egg wash.
- Bake at 400° F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Allow turnovers to cool fully before icing.
For the Icing
- Brown the ¼ cup butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, zest from 1 lime, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Adjust the icing if necessary by adding more milk or powdered sugar.
- Spread the icing on each cool pastry. Allow the icing to set before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container.