Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers

Rhubarb Blueberry Turnover

This post marks a couple of firsts for me.  This is the first time I’ve ever used rhubarb and it’s also the first time I’ve ever made homemade turnovers.  You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I now love them both!

I’m not sure how I’ve made it 34 years without ever touching fresh rhubarb.  We just didn’t eat it growing up.  I don’t think there was any particular reason for it, we just didn’t.  I know I’ve probably tasted Strawberry Rhubarb Pie at some point in my life, but I can’t really recall ever knowing what rhubarb even tastes like.

Luckily, my friend Allen suggested that I try making something with rhubarb. If he hadn’t put it in my head, I probably would gone another year without giving it a go.  And once he suggested it, I started noticing rhubarb recipes everywhere.  It seemed like I was the only in the world not eating rhubarb on a daily basis.  I was determined to give it a try.

But I wasn’t really sure where to find it.  I knew it was in season, and living in California, I generally have access to just about any fruit or vegetable imaginable.  But I really didn’t recall seeing rhubarb at the markets.  My friend Caron assured me that I would be able to find it here, since she grew up eating lots of rhubarb in Southern California.  We headed out to one of our local farmer’s markets and sure enough, there it was!


I snatched up two bunches of the scarlet, celery-like vegetable (or is it a fruit?).  Caron suggested I try using it to make a simple compote, and I thought that sounded like a good way to get to know this ingredient.  I chopped it up, tossed it with some sugar and let it macerate for a while since I had read that it would release liquid.  When it didn’t release as much liquid as I expected, I tossed in a spoonful of water and heated it on the stove.  The rhubarb softened much faster than I expected, and all of a sudden I had a pot full rhubarb mush, instead of the chunky compote I was hoping for.  Rhubarb FAIL.

Well, instead of being disappointed with my failed compote, I decided to turn it into a sauce.  I tossed in a handful of fresh raspberries, half a vanilla bean, and a few cardomom pods and let it simmer for a bit.  Then I removed the vanilla bean and cardmom, passed the mixture through my food mill and ended up with a beautiful red sauce that tasted great over my Greek yogurt as an afternoon snack.  Although the sauce was good, I wasn’t really satisfied with my first rhubarb experiment.  Luckily, I still had a bunch in the refrigerator!

It took me about a week to get back to the rhubarb, but I am so glad that I did!  The Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers that I finally ended up with are the best pastries I’ve ever made.  I got the idea while looking through my newest baking book, The Art and Soul of Baking. If you can believe it, I received the beautiful book as a free gift when I recently attended the International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle.  Lucky me!  The book is filled with gorgeous photos and there are tons of recipes I want to try (Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake, anyone?).  But back to the Rhubarb!   I ended up adapting a Summer Berry Turnover recipe to include rhubarb and blueberries since that’s what I had in the fridge.

What I loved most about this recipe was the simple cream cheese pastry dough.  As long as you have a food processor, the dough comes together in minutes!

First, cut a stick of cold butter into small pieces (put it back in fridge to keep it cold).

Butter in Pieces

Then do the same thing with an 8-ounce block of cream cheese.

Cream Cheese in Pieces

Next, combine flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine the ingredients.

Cuisinart Food Processor

Remove the butter from the fridge and add it to the flour mixture.

Add Cold Butter to the Flour Mixture

Press the pulse button several times until the butter/flour mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

Process Butter and Flour until it looks like Bread Crumbs

Now add the cold cream cheese.

Add Cream Cheese to Flour/Butter Mixture

Pulse again, several times, until the dough clumps together in a shaggy mass.

Cream Cheese Pastry Dough in Food Processor

Next, dump the shaggy dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.

Cream Cheese Pastry Dough for Turnovers

Knead the dough briefly until you have a cohesive dough, then pat it out into a square.

Cream Cheese Pastry Dough

Wrap the dough in plastic, then chill in the refrigerator for 3o minutes.

Cream Cheese Pastry Dough Ready to be Chilled

Meanwhile, chop and measure out one cup of rhubarb and one cup of blueberries.

Cut Rhubarb and Blueberries

In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and cardamom.

Rhubarb Blueberry Filling Ingredients

Mix the filling ingredients together well, then set aside.

Mixing the Rhubarb Blueberry Filling Ingredients

After the dough has chilled, roll it out into a big square, a little larger than 15 inches all around.

Rolling out Cream Cheese Pastry Dough for Turnovers

Using a ruler and a knife (or in this case, a pizza cutter), trim the dough into a 15-inch square.

Measuring the Pastry Dough

Then mark the dough in 5-inch increments on all sides and cut into 9 (5-inch) squares.

Cutting Pastry Squares for Turnovers

Pastry Squares for Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers

Divide the filling between each square, placing spoonfuls of it in the center of each one.

Rhubarb Blueberry Filling

Although I forgot to do it, you should brush the edges of the squares with egg was before folding them over to form a triangle.  Gently press the edges together with your fingers.

Forming the Turnovers

Then use a fork to seal and crimp the edges.

Crimping the Turnover Edges with a Fork

Divide the turnovers between two baking sheets, then brush each one lightly with egg wash.

Brushing Egg Wash on Turnovers

After brushing with egg wash, sprinkle coarse sugar over the tops of the turnovers.

Sprinkling Sugar on Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers

Use a small sharp knife to cut several slits in the top of each turnover.  This will allow steam to escape during baking.

Cutting Slits in Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers

Bake the turnovers in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven when they are golden brown.  The turnovers will leak, but that’s fine!

Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers Fresh Out of Oven

Move them to a wire rack to cool.

Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers on Cooling Rack

Enjoy warm or at room temperature and try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!

Inside of Rhubarb Blueberry Turnover

Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers
adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (one stick), cut into small pieces
8 oz. cold cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces

4 oz. rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
4 oz. blueberries (1 cup)
6 tablespoons sugar
zest of one lemon (about 2 teaspoons of zest)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Egg wash:
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk or cream

Sanding sugar, turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw), or granulated sugar for sprinkling on the turnovers.

1. Place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend the ingredients.  Add the cold butter pieces and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.  Add the cream cheese and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together in a shaggy mass.

2. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and knead briefly until the dough comes together.  Pat the dough into a square (about 3/4 inch thick) and wrap in plastic.  Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up until 2 days.

3. Just before removing dough from the refrigerator, prepare the filling:  In a medium bowl, stir together rhubarb, blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, and spices; set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place two baking racks close to the center of the oven.

4. Unwrap dough and place on a lightly floured surface.  Roll dough into a large square (slightly larger than 15 inches all around), about 1/8 inch thick.  Using a large knife, trim dough to a 15-inch square.  Use a ruler to mark 5-inch increments along each side of the dough then cut into 9 (5-inch) squares.*

5. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and milk; set aside.  Add a spoonful of rhubarb-blueberry filling in the center of each pastry square (try to divide filling between the squares as evenly as possible). Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the squares with the egg wash.  Fold the dough over the filling to form a triangle and gently press the edges together with the side of your hand or fingertips.  Use a fork to crimp the edges.

6. Divide the turnovers between two baking sheets that have been lined with either parchment or silicone baking mats. Brush the tops of the turnovers with the egg wash then sprinkle with sugar.  Using the tip of a small knife, cut several slits in the top of each turnover.  Place baking sheets on two baking racks in the center of a preheated 350-degree oven.  Bake for 15 minutes then rotate the sheets from front to back and switch them between the racks to ensure even browning.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer until the turnovers are golden brown.  Transfer pastries to a cooling rack.  Serve turnovers warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes: *At this point, the squares can be stacked (with pieces of parchment or waxed paper between layers), wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to two days or frozen (place in a plastic freezer bag) for up to two months.

These were some of the best turnovers I’ve ever tasted!  They are sweet, but tart and the crust is flaky and flavorful.  I’ve already made them twice and can see myself making them again and again in the future.  Any type of berry filling would work great in these turnovers, and according to Recipe Girl, cherries work great as well!

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  1. Sarah (Coffee Beans and Curry Leaves)

    These look heavenly! I’ve got a bunch of rhubarb I need to do something with, and these look like just the thing!

    1:15 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  2. chris

    Wow. Those do look heavenly. I need to track down some counter space so I can attempt these goodies!

    1:37 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  3. Haley J.

    This is a great recipe using rhubarb. I’ve got a Rhubarb Strawberry Pie that I made that I’ve got to get around to posting sometime; it’s got me wanting more rhubarb! Your turnovers look great! Cardamom is the secret weapon spice of baking with fresh fruits, and I love that flaky, cream cheese dough. These are on the priority list!

    1:50 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  4. Sarah

    WOW! Cannot wait for our berries to get here!!

    2:03 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  5. Hélène

    That is beautiful. That dough is great with the cream cheese. I made a similar one and was easy to work with. Would be good with a filling of apples and cinnamon also.

    2:10 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  6. Jodi

    It seems like Rhubarb is the particularly HOT fruit/veggie this summer. I have been seeing so many great posts about it. But this one definitely looks the YUMMIEST! For some reason this one is making me crave it with vanilla ice cream! I think I will try to grow some rhubarb in the garden next year. Thanks for the post!

    2:25 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  7. Deb

    Oh yeah, got this one bookmarked now. Can’t find rhubarb here in Umbria but will find some other fruit mixture.

    Looks delicious!

    2:33 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  8. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    Your turnovers look heavenly! I love the idea of using cream cheese in the dough. I’ve never done much with rhubarb either, mostly because I rarely find nice stalks here, but I’m gonna start looking harder. These turnovers are too good to pass up!

    3:24 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  9. Tara

    These things look so easy and so good! I’ve never heard of a pastry dough with cream cheese… definitely something I will have to try! Yum.

    4:28 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  10. Jen Schall @ My Kitchen Addiction

    These turnovers look amazing, and your photos are beautiful! I absolutely love rhubarb. The cream cheese in the pastry dough sounds absolutely delicious!

    5:04 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  11. pam

    Those look fantastic. That photo of the rhubarb is just amazing!

    7:26 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  12. Allen

    Look at those shots of the turnovers — my god, I would eat the whole tray!

    I love the idea of cream cheese in the pastry. It reminds me of my mother’s amazing christmas cookies which have a cream cheese base — will have to share with you sometime 🙂

    10:21 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  13. Leaca

    I am so glad you posted a rhubarb recipe. I have tons of it and not knowing what to do with it.

    10:49 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  14. Ruth Kalinka

    I love rhubarb and I actually have both rhubarb & blueberries in the fridge! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

    11:10 pm  Jun 13th, 2009
  15. Angie

    These look absolutely delicious. I saw the rhubarb at the store last time I went and wondered if I’d ever buy some… now I just might. I tried making the lemon bars… not so good. I think I made the mistake of not using real butter, and my oven is very tempermental with the temperature setting so that may have been part of the problem. But I had fun trying!

    12:06 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  16. Angie

    OOPS, I mentioned the lemon bars, the recipe was from Bakerella, not you, sorry. The crust was similar to the one you made here, so in my non-caffinated brain I was thinking this is where I got the recipe. Sheesh, I need to get some coffee!

    12:10 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  17. Katie

    These do look delicious! I’m always looking for new rhubarb recipes because that’s usually the first edible thing you can get at our farmer’s market. My favorite so far is a gallette shown here http://urbanpeasantry.blogspot.com/2009/05/101-cookbooks-and-book-club.html.

    Can’t wait to read your post about Casatiello!

    3:51 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  18. Heather Peskin

    This is a must copy for me. I love the pastry recipe and your use of rhubarb, which I have never used before either.

    4:15 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  19. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    They really did turn out gorgeous. I love how you experimented with the rhubarb. I’m afraid I’m going to plow through this season without having baked or cooked with rhubarb. Maybe next year. Maybe these turnovers!

    6:06 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  20. Julie

    Oh yes. I have found me another keeper. Thank you!!!

    6:11 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  21. maris

    These look SO good! Gorgeous…. I’ve never made anything with rhubarb because sadly, I don’t love it but I think making these with extra blueberries would be a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth – and without eating chocolate (my nemesis! LOL)

    8:35 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  22. Valérie

    They look wonderful! I am also a rhubarb-virgin: I’ve had it in the odd muffin or tart, but it had never occured to me to buy it fresh until I started reading food blogs. Every summer, people seem to go nuts for rhubarb… One of these days, I’ll have to try it for myself.

    9:40 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  23. Aggie

    I am new to rhubarb as well…and now I’ve had it 3-4 times in the last couple of weeks. I love these little rhubarb blueberry turnovers!! YUM!

    11:25 am  Jun 14th, 2009
  24. Di

    Your turnovers look really wonderful! I just recently got a copy of The Art & Soul of Baking, too. I’ve only made a couple things so far, and I can’t wait to try more. It really is a gorgeous book.

    12:15 pm  Jun 14th, 2009
  25. Rafi Bar-Lev

    I’m not a huge fan of rhubarb. But you definitely made it look good!

    By the way, I have a new blog that’s more fitness and injury-related, but I do talk about nutrition and since you’re a food nut I thought you might be interested in it. 😛 (The link is attached to my name!)

    -Rafi Bar-Lev

    12:38 pm  Jun 14th, 2009
  26. emiglia

    Wow… those pictures are gorgeous.

    I see rhubarb everywhere in the blogging world today, but I had a bad experience with it a few years ago and haven’t touched it since. Maybe it’s time to give it another try…

    1:48 pm  Jun 14th, 2009
  27. Amanda

    These are adorable. And I haven’t touched rhubarb either! What is wrong with me?!

    7:38 pm  Jun 14th, 2009
  28. Andrea

    These are so beautiful! I love the idea of the rhubarb and blueberry together.

    4:24 am  Jun 15th, 2009
  29. Erin

    I love how rustic these look! Also, look at you measuring out the dough into perfect squares. You’re my hero. I simply don’t have the patience 🙂

    4:58 am  Jun 15th, 2009
  30. meghan

    For the love of God sister!
    For the love of God!
    These look utterly divine.

    This is on my list of things to make.
    Now to just find rhubarb…it’s impossible to find in South Jersey!

    7:13 am  Jun 15th, 2009
  31. Ivete

    WOW, those look AMAZING!! Definitely going to try these, maybe really soon . . . thanks!

    11:00 am  Jun 15th, 2009
  32. Nicole A.

    Thanks for posting this Nicole. I saw them on Amanda’s FoodPornDaily site and pestered her for the recipe 🙂 They look mouth-wateringly yummy!

    11:14 am  Jun 15th, 2009
  33. The Purple Foodie

    Nicole, these look so good! The shape reminds me of the strawberry pop tarts I made a while ago. I am so tempted to go down that route right now but I’m out of strawberries!

    1:38 pm  Jun 15th, 2009
  34. Jennet

    Hey Nicole, love the pictures, had a question – where did you get your woodblock? I’d like to get something similar, my counters are orange and hideous (rental house… I get no say!) and not only are they ugly but my dough sticks to the counter pretty bad and makes it a pain to clean. I want something a bit more sturdy and I’m loving the wood block idea. I also need some place to roll dough. I’m pretty horrible at it right now…but christmas cookies are going to be upon me soon!!

    2:16 pm  Jun 19th, 2009
  35. JIM-49

    Well Nicole,I’m so glad,as the old saying goes,”You got your feet wet”,before me!! I have never,cooked with rhubarb,and stumbled upon it this year,and some people said it was so good,for pies.I talked to Kevin at Closet Cooking,and he gave me some pointers.Now,your post,just helped push me over the edge!! I will try these,shortly!! They look so good,and turned out very nice!! Thanks for all your work and time,”Sure makes an old Southern Miss.,man ,” Look Real Good”,when I follow your directions!!Thanks Again!!

    6:29 pm  Jun 23rd, 2009
  36. Trysha

    I will make this, but only because you described the dough as a “shaggy mess.” 🙂 Best description ever!

    Seriously, I t looks absolutely delicious. I’ve never had rhubarb and I would probably chicken out and use strawberries.

    11:53 am  Jul 8th, 2009
  37. swati

    shown very thoroughly

    8:16 pm  May 15th, 2010
  38. Cody

    Just made these with some frozen blueberries, they were very yummy!! Two of my favorite things, rhubarb & cream cheese, never would have thought to put them together!!

    4:54 pm  May 25th, 2010
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