Photo: Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post
Phyllo dough brushed with healthful olive oil and sprinkled with a little coarse sugar make these golden, flaky turnovers a lighter, better-for-you alternative to puff pastry or other pie doughs. Here, they are stuffed with a heady, cardamom-seasoned cherry filling that is ideal for summer when cherries are in season, but can be made any time of year using frozen fruit. The turnovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, then reheated in a 300-degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until warm and re-crisped.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cherries, honey, lemon juice and cardamom, cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the cherries release their juices and come to a simmer. Remove the lid, stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook, stirring, until the juices thicken, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour.
When ready to bake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
Place the stack of phyllo on a clean surface and keep it covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel or paper towels so it doesn’t dry out. Lay one sheet of phyllo on a large cutting board, wider side facing you, and use a pastry brush to dab/gently brush it with the olive oil, then sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Top with a second sheet of phyllo, brushing it with oil and sprinkling with sugar, then repeat this process with 2 more sheets of phyllo, so you wind up with a stack of 4 layers. (Don’t worry if the phyllo sheets don’t line up perfectly; just try to get them close enough. If the sheets tear slightly, that’s okay, just proceed.)
Working from top to bottom, cut the layered phyllo into 4 strips. Put a small mound (about 2 heaping tablespoons) of the cherry mixture about 1 inch from the bottom of one strip and fold the phyllo over the mixture into a triangle-shaped pocket. Continue to fold the strip up to maintain the triangle shape, much as you would fold a flag, forming a triangular turnover. Repeat with the other three strips.
Repeat the process again with the remaining four sheets of phyllo, oil, sugar and filling so that you wind up with 8 turnovers. Place the turnovers on a large, rimmed baking sheet and brush the top of each with the oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nicely browned and crisp. Let cool slightly, about 20 minutes, then serve warm.
Makes 8 Servings
Serving size: 1 turnover
Per serving: Calories 210 ; Total Fat 10 g; (Sat Fat 2 g); Protein 2 g; Carb 29 g; Fiber 1 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 93 mg, Total Sugar 16 g (Added Sugar 12 g)