Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Ricotta Turnovers with Cream-Cheese Pastry

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Ricotta Turnovers with Cream-Cheese Pastry

Article excerpt


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The Jewish holiday of Shavuot begins at sundown on May 14. During this celebration Jews commemorate receiving the Torah, and customarily, eat dairy foods, such as cheese and other dairy dishes. It's not a popular or well-known holiday but it should be because of the deliciously inspiring food traditions including blintzes, turnovers, noodle kugel and cheesecake.

According to Gil Marks in "The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food," the reason we consume dairy products along with "other white foods, such as rice and white cornmeal, [is because they] are considered symbols of purity and are customary on this holy day."

During this springtime celebration, homes may be festooned with flowers and green boughs. "Shavuot is the first day of the year when the first fruits could be brought into the Temple," writes Mr. Marks. These first fruits inspired my spring combo of rhubarb and strawberries, along with the sweetened ricotta filling in my turnover. The cream cheese pastry crust comes right from the easiest- ever recipe on the Kraft website. You'll find it a joy to work and it produces a super flaky turnover. Also, the pastry can be prepared a few days in advance and refrigerated or frozen. Thaw in the fridge before using. From my garden, I cut the first thick stalks of rhubarb for the filling, mixing it with organic strawberries.

You don't have to be Jewish to love this turnover. In any case, take the time to commemorate the blooms and blossoms of this lovely season, and the deliciousness of the first fruits. It was a long winter.

-- Miriam Rubin ( and on Twitter @@mmmrubin)

For the pastry

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon fine table salt

1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened and cut in chunks

1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For shaping and finishing: 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or cream and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar for sprinkling

For the ricotta filling

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

For the strawberry and rhubarb filling

1 cup 1/4-inch-thick slices rhubarb (no leaves -- they're poisonous)

2/3 cup thinly sliced strawberries (remove hull, halve through top and thinly slice berries crosswise)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

To make pastry: Put flour and salt in food processor; pulse to mix. …

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