Haitian Turnovers Recipe
Haitian Turnovers
Flavors of Haiti
Total time: more than 2 hours

Prep. time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 3 x 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Average
Chef's Note

(1) Tips
Gluten is a protein in flour that develops in contact with water, handling and heat. Too much gluten reduces flakiness. Some cooks prefer to add a spoonful of vinegar to the pastry in step 1 because the acidity helps reduce gluten development.

You can prepare the pastry the day before and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. It also freezes well for up to 1 or 2 months.

(2) Depending on your preference or for economy, you can replace the butter with an equal quantity of shortening. In France, butter is used more for puff pastry, but in Haiti, vegetable shortening or lard are favored, butter being added often only for the flavor.


- 500 ml / 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. white vinegar (1)
- 250 ml / 1 cup water
- 200 ml shortening
- 50 ml butter (2)
- 2 eggs

- 1 kg / 2.2 lbs minced beef
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 shallot
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- thyme, rosemary to taste


  1. In a bowl, combine 2/3 of the flour, the water, vinegar and salt with your hands. Knead lightly to form a smooth dough.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.


  1. Meanwhile, dice the onion and shallot; finely chop the onion and bell pepper.
  2. Cook them slowly in a skillet with a little oil. The onion should become translucent and the pepper softened.
  3. Add the meat and simmer, covered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir constantly until the meat is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Add the chopped herbs and tomato paste; mix well to give the filling a nice brown color.

Pastry (continued)

  1. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry into a rectangle about 1 to 1.5 cm thick.
  2. In a bowl, combine the shortening, butter and remaining flour (1/3).
  3. Place the butter mixture (step 2) on the rolled out pastry (step 1), leaving a 2.5 cm margin all around.
  4. Fold the pastry into three, folding both of the side thirds over the centre. Flatten slightly; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  5. Roll the pastry out again into a rectangle, gtiving it a 90° turn; fold again to form three layers as before. Refrigerate another 30 minutes.

Assembly and baking

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° C/400° F. Place a tin with some water in it on the bottom rack to provide steam.
  2. Roll the pastry out a last time to a 2 mm thickness, giving it a 90° turn. Cut into circles using a glass or cookie cutter.
  3. Take each circle and stretch slightly with your fingers; place a spoonful of filling in the centre and fold to form a semi-circle.
  4. Seal the edges with damp fingers or with a fork.
  5. Place the turnovers on a baking sheet. Brush the top and edges with egg yolk beaten with 3 tsp. water.
  6. Place in the hot oven and bake for 30-45 minutes until the turnovers are nicely golden. Serve hot. 
More recipe ideas

 Photo : ID 87072737 / David Cabrera Navarro

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