In light of a recent event, when I heard last week that Eddie Murphy has produced a sequel to "Coming to America," I burst out laughing as old memories flooded back. In the movie, Eddie Murphy plays Prince Akeem, a prince from a wealthy African nation. To escape an arranged marriage, he flees to America in search of a spouse of his own choosing. He disguises his wealth and title by enrolling in college and working part-time in a fast-food restaurant, McDowell's. After many twists and turns, Prince Akeem finds his true love and returns to his home country with his new bride.
In a humorous way, the story bears some striking similarities with the roots of the relationship between my husband, Corman, and myself. Corman, who is Palauan, grew up on the small island of Peleliu. After graduating from high school, he came to Guam to attend the University of Guam. When we first met 25 years ago, he was a nursing student. He was also a part-time employee at McDonalds. One day he invited me to visit him at work. When I arrived at the Tamuning McDonald's, he brought me a Big Mac and fries and then sat down to talk with me. (This was a bit awkward because, unknown to him, I don't eat red meat or fried food. So, I pretended to be full). We talked about our families and our backgrounds. When I learned that his father was in line to become a clan leader in Peleliu, I started laughing. He gave me a puzzled look and wondered what I found so amusing. I asked if he had ever seen the movie "Coming to America." He said yes.
As he sat there in his McDonald's uniform, I suggested that there may be some similarities between Prince Akeem's situation and his. He looked down at the table for a few moments, deep in contemplation, then looked up at me and erupted into laughter. From then on, his nickname was "Akeem."
New U.S. citizen
Skip ahead 25 years. On March 4, after a very lengthy and arduous process, Corman raised his right hand at the District Court of Guam and was sworn in as an American citizen by Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood.
At our Saturday night family dinner, I wanted to prepare something very "Americana" in honor of Corman's new citizenship. My first choice was apple pie, but since I've already published that recipe, I decided on apple turnovers instead. To be candid, my family prefers them. Serve the turnovers warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy a bit of heaven. My Prince Akeem loves them, and so will you!
Week 22: Apple Turnovers
(From the website SugarSpunRun.com.)
Ingredients for 10 turnovers
2 batches homemade pie crust dough, or 2 packages readymade double-pie crusts
4 large tart apples peeled and diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup of light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
2 tablespoons coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the turnovers
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Break your chilled homemade pie dough into two balls that are roughly the same size.*
3. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll one ball of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
4. Using a pizza cutter (or knife with a straight-edge) neatly cut dough into 4.5-inch squares and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with second ball of dough.
(You'll need to gather the scraps and re-roll them out to make all 10 turnovers)
5. Place squares on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator.
6. Prepare the apple filling by combining the chopped apples, brown sugar and butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat.
6. Stir frequently until butter is melted, then add cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt.
7. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool (at least 15-20 minutes) before proceeding.
9. Prepare egg wash by combining egg and 1 teaspoon of water in a small dish and whisk until well-combined.
10. Lightly brush the insides of your pastry squares with egg wash.
11. Portion about 2-3 tablespoons of apple filling into the center of each square. Gently fold over one corner to the other to enclose the apple filing in a triangular shape. Use the tines of a fork to press and seal the turnover edges.
12. Brush the outside lightly with egg wash, cut small slits across to vent, and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
13. Bake in a 400F oven for 20-25 minutes, until pastry begins to turn golden brown.
14. Allow to cool before drizzling with glaze.
For the vanilla glaze
1. Whisk together powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of milk, vanilla extract in a small bowl. Slowly add additional milk, one teaspoon at a time, until a fluid consistency is reached.
2. Drizzle over slightly cooled turnovers. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
*If you use premade double pie crusts, like Betty Crocker or Essentials, spread one of the round pie crusts onto slightly floured parchment paper and brush with egg wash. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into one-half, then cut into quarters, and then cut into eighths. Place about 2 tablespoons of apple filing into the center of a triangular dough piece and cover with another triangular piece, egg wash side down. Seal edges with fork tines. Coat the outside with the egg wash, cut small slits and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Repeat the process with the other three pie crusts. This will make 16 turnovers. Reduce baking time to between 17-20 minutes, until golden brown.