I have been craving for the Tuna Turnovers I had more than 20 years ago back home. So when my best friend gave me a ton of canned tuna, what did I make? The Tuna Turnover of my childhood ( not really because I was already working then, lol). I am trying to recreate a dish from memory (taste memory that is). I got it! I also had to put in some vegetables because I want some veggies in every dish I eat (sometimes even on desserts). I am using my mom’s flakey crust recipe with my own variation and tricks. My mom only uses Crisco but my version uses good European butter.
Here is my version of the Tuna Turnover of my (not so) childhood.
For the Crust
1 c flour, sifted
pinch of salt
1 stick of butter, frozen
ice cold water (or vodka – see notes)
1 egg beaten + 1 tbsp. water (for brushing the pastry)
For the Filling
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, grated or minced
1 cup sweet peas
4 cans tuna in water, drained
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps. cream (optional)
Put the butter in the freezer for at least 45 minutes.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Take the butter from the freezer. Make a well in the middle of the flour and grate the butter. You will end up with a large pile of grated butter in the middle of a well of flour. With a spatula, fold the butter into the flour making sure that the butter is coated with flour. Do not use your hands to touch the dough since the heat of your hands will melt the butter. Sprinkle a tablespoon (at a time) of water (or vodka) while mixing the dough. The dough will start to bring the whole thing together and finish it off with your hands.
The dough should come together that the bowl is left clean with no bits of flour and butter left. Form the dough into the shape that you want. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling
Heat a medium non-stick pan. Add in the olive oil. Saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for a minute. Add grated carrots and sweet peas. Saute until carrots are caramelized around 5 minutes. Add drained tuna. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for around 5 minutes. Finish off with a drizzle of the cream (to have the creamy taste). Set aside to cool.
How to Roll the Pastry
Place the rested dough on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to flatten it to your desired shape. Use a straight rolling pin (not the French kind). Lightly dust the rolling pin with flour. Rest the pin in the middle of the dough and roll outwards. Always start in the middle and roll outwards, turning the dough several times until you reach your desired shape, re-dusting the rolling pin and the surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Do not be tempted to roll forward and backward. Give the dough quarter turns to reach desired shape and thickness.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the dough into 8 equal square pieces (more if you are making smaller pies). Scoop a tablespoon of the tuna filling and place it in the middle of the square dough (or any shape you prefer). Fold the dough and crimp the edges with the back of the fork.
Place the pies on a parchment covered baking pan. Brush the pastry with eggwash.
Bake for 25-30 minutes on the middle rack turning the pan around halfway through baking.
Cool in baking racks or serve warm.
Use vodka (or any drinking alcohol) instead of water because it evaporates faster which makes a flakier and light crust.
Make a big batch and freeze it. Defrost before using.
To remove the fishy taste of the tuna, add some lemon juice or ginger. I don’t like a tart turnover so I don’t put it.
You can add a teaspoon on cumin for a different twist in flavor.