If you’re a fan of turnovers, you may be wondering whether it’s better to use filling or topping for your pastry creations. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between filling and topping, the role they play in making turnovers, and how you can choose between the two to create delicious baked treats that will satisfy any craving.
Understanding the difference between filling and topping.
Before we dive deeper into the world of turnovers, we need to clarify the difference between filling and topping. Filling is the most commonly used ingredient in turnovers. It’s what goes inside the pastry, adding flavor, moisture, and texture. Filling can be sweet, savory, or a combination of both, and it’s often made with fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, or sweet spreads like jam or chocolate. Topping, on the other hand, is an optional addition that goes on top of the pastry, giving it a crispy, crumbly, or glazed finish. Topping can be savory or sweet, and it’s often made with nuts, seeds, sugar, cheese, herbs, or spices.
The role of filling and topping in making turnovers.
Both filling and topping serve important roles in making turnovers. Filling is the heart and soul of the pastry, giving it flavor and character. A well-crafted filling can be the difference between a bland, dry turnover and a mouth-watering one that leaves you wanting more. Topping, on the other hand, is the icing on the cake (or rather, the pastry). It adds visual appeal, texture, and flavor contrast, making the pastry more interesting and satisfying to eat. Some turnovers don’t even need topping, while others rely on it to balance out the sweetness or richness of the filling.
How to choose between filling and topping for your turnovers.
When it comes to choosing between filling and topping for your turnovers, there are a few factors to consider. First, think about the type of turnover you want to make. Is it sweet or savory? Are you aiming for a light snack or a hearty meal? Depending on the answer, you may want to opt for a filling that’s rich and indulgent (like cream cheese and berry jam), or a filling that’s simple and wholesome (like spinach and feta). Similarly, you may want to choose a topping that complements or contrasts with the filling. For example, if you’re making a peach turnover, you may want to sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar or chopped almonds for additional flavor and texture.
The pros and cons of using filling vs. topping for turnovers.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using filling or topping for turnovers. Let’s start with filling. One of the main advantages of filling is that it adds moisture and flavor to the pastry, making it more satisfying and enjoyable to eat. Filling can also be versatile, allowing you to experiment with different combinations of ingredients and textures. However, filling can also be messy and complicated to prepare, as it often requires cooking, cooling, and handling before it can be added to the pastry. It can also make the pastry soggy if it’s too wet or greasy.
As for topping, one of the main advantages is that it adds visual interest and crunch to the pastry, making it more appealing and fun to eat. Topping can also be easy to prepare and customize, requiring only a few ingredients and minimal cooking. However, topping can also make the pastry dry or oversweet if it’s not balanced properly with the filling. It can also fall off or burn if it’s not applied evenly or at the right time during baking.
Filling ideas for sweet turnovers.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet turnover, there are plenty of filling options to choose from. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Apple cinnamon: sautéed apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar
- Blueberry cream cheese: blueberry jam mixed with cream cheese and powdered sugar
- Pumpkin spice: pureed pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and cream
- Chocolate peanut butter: melted chocolate chips mixed with peanut butter and powdered sugar
- Lemon raspberry: raspberry jam mixed with lemon zest, juice, and powdered sugar
Topping ideas for savory turnovers.
If you’re in the mood for a savory turnover, here are some topping ideas to consider:
- Poppy seed: a mixture of poppy seeds, salt, and melted butter
- Parmesan garlic: grated parmesan cheese mixed with minced garlic and black pepper
- Herb: a mixture of dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, and olive oil
- Sesame seed: a mixture of sesame seeds, soy sauce, and honey
- Everything bagel: a mixture of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic, and onion flakes
The best combinations of fillings and toppings for delicious turnovers.
If you’re looking for some winning combinations of fillings and toppings for your turnovers, here are some ideas to try:
- Ham and cheese: diced ham with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions, topped with a sprinkle of seasoned breadcrumbs
- Spinach and feta: cooked spinach with crumbled feta cheese and minced garlic, topped with a drizzle of olive oil
- Apple pie: sliced apples with cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract, topped with a lattice of buttery pie crust
- Beef and mushroom: ground beef with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and herbs, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes
- Strawberry cream: chopped strawberries with whipped cream and powdered sugar, topped with a dollop of strawberry jam
How to make your own filling and topping from scratch.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also make your own filling and topping from scratch. Here are some basic recipes to get you started:
Basic fruit filling:
- 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (berries, peaches, apples, cherries, etc.)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
- Combine the fruit, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a saucepan.
- Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and the fruit is tender (about 10-15 minutes).
- Let the filling cool before using it in your turnovers.
Basic streusel topping:
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, nuts, and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Use your fingers or a fork to mix the ingredients until they form coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle the topping over your turnovers before baking.
Tips for ensuring your turnovers are perfectly balanced with filling and topping.
Here are some tips for making sure your turnovers have the right amount of filling and topping:
- Use a ratio of about 1:1 filling to pastry, or a little less filling if you’re using a particularly wet or dense one.
- Apply topping just before baking, so it has a chance to adhere to the pastry without burning or spreading too much.
- Choose complementary flavors and textures for your filling and topping, so they work together to enhance the overall taste and mouthfeel of the pastry.
- Don’t overfill your turnovers, or they may burst or get soggy. Use a small amount of filling and spread it evenly to avoid any air pockets or gaps.
- Experiment with different combinations of fillings and toppings, but be mindful of the overall balance and richness of the pastry. Too many competing flavors or textures can overwhelm the palate.
Creative ways to experiment with different types of fillings and toppings for your turnovers.
If you’re looking for some creative ideas to take your turnovers to the next level, here are some suggestions:
- Use phyllo dough instead of puff pastry for a lighter, flakier turnover with a crispier texture.
- Add spices or herbs to your filling or topping to give it a unique flavor twist, such as cardamom, ginger, basil, or cilantro.
- Use different types of sweet spreads for your filling, such as raspberry jam, apricot preserves, caramel sauce, or hazelnut spread.
- Use nuts or seeds as a base for your topping, such as almond flour, toasted pecans, sesame seeds, or chopped pistachios.
- Try a savory filling with a sweet or tangy topping, like bacon and blueberry jam, brie and figs, or roasted chicken and cranberry sauce.
Serving suggestions for turnovers with different types of fillings or toppings.
Here are some ways to enjoy your turnovers, depending on what type of filling or topping you’ve used:
- Sweet turnovers: Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a classic dessert. Or, enjoy them with a cup of tea or coffee for a cozy afternoon snack.
- Savory turnovers: Serve as a main course with a side salad or roasted vegetables, or enjoy as a hearty appetizer or party snack. These turnovers also pair well with beer or wine.
- Spicy turnovers: Serve with a cooling dipping sauce or yogurt dip to balance out the heat, such as tzatziki, sour cream and chive, or mango salsa.
- Fruit-filled turnovers: These pair well with a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of powdered sugar, along with a side of fresh berries or sliced fruit.
The science behind the perfect filling-to-topping ratio in a turnover.
The ideal ratio of filling to topping in a turnover depends on several factors, including the density, juiciness, and sweetness of the filling, as well as the thickness, texture, and flavor of the topping. Generally, a turnover should have enough filling to provide flavor and moisture, without overwhelming the pastry and making it soggy or heavy. Similarly, a turnover should have enough topping to provide crunch and contrast, without overpowering the filling and masking its flavor. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a ratio of about 2:1 (filling to topping) by weight, or about 3/4 inch of filling and 1/4 inch of topping in a typical puff pastry turnover.
How to store leftover turnover fillings and toppings for future use.
If you have leftover filling or topping from making turnovers, you can store them in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. Filling can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw frozen filling, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, or heat it gently in a saucepan or microwave. Topping can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw frozen topping, let it sit at room temperature for a few hours, or heat it in a toaster oven or conventional oven until warm and crispy.
Conclusion: Which is better, filling or topping? A summary of the pros and cons to help you decide.
So, which is better, filling or topping? The answer is, it depends on what you’re looking for in a turnover. Filling is essential for adding flavor and texture to the pastry, but it can also be messy and complicated to prepare. Topping is optional but can add visual appeal and contrast to the pastry, but it can also make the pastry dry or oversweet if not balanced properly. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference and experimentation. Try different combinations of fillings and toppings, or even invent your own, and see what works best for you. With these tips and ideas, you’re sure to create turnover masterpieces that will delight your taste buds and impress your guests.