Posted in Daily, Food

Of “Portable Pies”

Although the modern lifestyle had attracted the tradition of “having food on the go” ranging from well wrapped portable sandwiches, cupcakes, tarts, salads to mention a few; portable pies were in existence since ancient times. Popularly known as “turnovers”, these portable pies were made by placing a filling on a piece of dough, folding the dough over, sealing, and baking it. Made sweet or savory, “turnovers” are often made as a sort of portable meal or dessert, similar to a sandwich; had for breakfast, snacks, desserts or quick picnics. From being baked to fried, fillings include fruits (apples, blueberries and cherries), meats ( chicken, beef and pork), vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, peas), eggs or even cheese. Specialty versions are made with fillings of wild rabbit and leek.

Traditionally turnovers are usually sweet, with popular pastry being the classical puff pastry. Known as sweet tarts initially, the term turnovers had come to reference around the eighteenth century. Made then as a sort of small, typically individual pie or pasty, in which the filling is placed on one side of a piece of rolled-out pastry and the other side is then turned over’ to cover it, forming a semicircular shape (Sporting Magazine, 1798).

Though these “turnovers” may have been there across different cuisine, albeit under other popular names. From the empanada of South and Central America (mixture of chopped meats, hard-boiled eggs, minced vegetables, olives, raisins, highly seasoned), the Russian pirozhki (meat, fish, cabbage, mushrooms or cheese), the famous Cornish pasties (large turnovers filled with beef, onions, turnips), Chinese dimsum (meat, fish, vegetables), Indian Samosas (chickpeas, potatoes, spices), Polish Pierogies, Middle Eastern Sanbousic (cheese and dill) and the Greek Spanokopitas (fillings of spinach, cottage and feta cheese with olives) are few among the many “global turnover” choices to experiment with as “quick meals or snacks” on the go.

With arising global popularity, little wonder then Turnovers have their own days. To mark celebrated food days of the National Apple Turnover Day (July 5th) as well as the World Chocolate Day (July 7th), sweet apple turnovers drizzled with chocolate may be a good way to mark them. For kitchen chefs, experimenting with turnovers may be a change from the regular desserts or savoury versions can be stuffed with meat leftovers, vegetables or just sweet fillings, depending on the mood of the hour. From sweet, savoury to spicy or cheesy; “turnover pies” have a variety of taste to offer, besides being a “quick solution” for sudden brunches, high teas or simply cravings.