(adapted from Fine Cooking and Cooks Illustrated)
2½ cups cold flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
12 oz. cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¾ cup ice cold water (you will use less than the full ¾ cup)
Place the cubed, cold butter into a large bowl. Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a separate bowl. Sift this onto the cold butter cubes and use a bench scraper to cut the butter into the flour. The mixture will be crumbly. Add the cold water a little at a time using the bench scraper to bring the dough together. I did not use the full ¾ cup; the dough should be shaggy and crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of lightly floured parchment and shape it into a rough rectangle, about ½” thick. (Some prefer to work directly on a lightly floured countertop, which is perfectly fine. The trick is not to add too much additional flour.)Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. Turn it 90 degrees so the folds are vertical. Roll into a rectangle, rolling open end to open end. Fold into thirds again, turn, roll, and repeat. The dough will become smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for half an hour. Remove from the fridge and give it two more “turns.” Wrap once more in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for another half hour before rolling out. Cut a 5” square template out of parchment paper. Roll the dough into a rectangle about ¼” thick and cut out eight 5” squares. Set the squares on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill them while you prepare the filling.
(this will make more than you need for the turnovers; use the extra syrup and cherries over ice cream or in beverages)
1¼ pound of sweet cherries
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped using the tip of a small sharp knife
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
egg wash made from one egg yolk and 2 tablespoons cream or milk
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Rinse and pit the cherries. Add the vanilla bean scrapings to the sugar and mix with your fingertips to blend. Place the cherries in a large bowl, add the vanilla sugar, lemon juice and salt. Turn to combine and let the fruit macerate for half an hour. Strain the fruit well, reserving the juice. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the pastry squares from the refrigerator. Place two tablespoons of cherries in the center of each square. Brush the edges of the pastries with some of the reserved cherry juice, then fold each square into a triangle. Seal the edges with a fork. Brush the turnovers with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Place the turnovers on a parchment lined baking sheet. Return the turnovers to the fridge for at least 15 minutes before baking so the pastry is cold before it goes into the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden.