The Apple Chronicles, Part 2: Kabocha-Apple Whole-Wheat Turnovers

One recipe I had wanted to make for a while was “Squash-Apple Turnovers” from Cooking Light, but I was deterred by the use of canned biscuit dough. Not only is that not in the spirit of this blog, but you simply can’t buy that kind of thing in my neck of rural Japan. (I suspect I would be hard-pressed to find it anywhere but a big import store in Japan, but I’ve never seen any while hunting down peanut butter.) I decided to alter Cooking Light’sSage Dinner Rolls” to become the crust, and it actually worked perfectly—I didn’t have extra dough or filling.

This would be a great dish at your next expat Thanksgiving party, since it tastes like home but you can find all the ingredients easily in Japan. If your store doesn’t have sage, you can substitute thyme. If you are using frozen kabocha, boil for ~5 minutes to soften it enough to dice; drain well before using. Reheats very well; may freeze in freezer bags.

Kabocha-Apple Whole-Wheat Turnovers

Yield: 12 turnovers (serving size: 1 if an appetizer/side)



  • Rolling pin (menbô, 綿棒)
  • Plastic wrap or clean towel to cover the dough
  • Large frying pan (furai pan, フライパン)


For the crust: 


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (dorai îsuto, ドライ・イースト)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (hachimitsu, はちみつ、蜂蜜)
  • 300 mL warm water (37-43°C; 100-110°F)
  • 320 grams all-purpose flour (2 1/2 US cups, 11.25 oz.), divided (plus extra as needed) (komugiko, 小麦粉)
  • 130 grams whole wheat flour (1 cup, 4 3/4 oz) (zenryûhun, 全粒分)
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh sage (1 teaspoon dried) (sêji, セージ)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (shio, 塩)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (koshô, 胡椒)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (orîbu oiru, オリーブオイル)
  • Cooking spray or olive oil


  1. Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Combine 260 grams (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour, wheat flour, sage, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add flour mixture and oil to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms.
  4. Place the dough on a floured surface. Add remaining flour 1 Tablespoon at a time to prevent dough from sticking to hands. (You may need more depending on how the dough turned out.) Knead until smooth and elastic (~8 minutes).
  5. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray or a little olive oil, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (29°C, 85°F) for 1 hour or until doubled in size–I preheated my oven range and set the dough in there to keep it away from drafts.
  6.  Use this time to make the filling.

For the filling:


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (orîbu oiru, オリーブオイル)
  • 1/2 onion [1 Japanese cup or ¾ US cup by volume] (tamanegi, 玉ねぎ)
  • ~200 g (7 oz.) (about 1/8) peeled kabocha, diced (1/2 cm/ 1/4-inch) (かぼちゃ、南瓜)
  • 270 grams [1 cup] peeled Jonagold apple, diced (1/2 cm – ¼ inch) (apple: ringo, りんご; Jonagold:  jonagourudo, ジョナゴールド )
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea-salt  (arajio, 粗塩)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (koshô, 胡椒)
  • 30 grams (1 oz) cream cheese (kurîmu chîzu, クリーム・チーズ)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried) (taimu, タイム)
  • 2 Tablespoons 1% low-fat milk (teishibô gyûnyû, 低脂肪牛乳)
  • Cooking spray or parchment paper to prevent sticking


  1. Preheat oven or oven range  to 190°C (375°F).
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté for 3 minutes. Add squash; sauté for 5 minutes. Add apple; cook 6 minutes or until squash and apple are tender. Stir in salt and pepper.
  3. Remove from heat. Gently stir in cheese and thyme; let the cheese melt. Cool to room temperature.
  4. When the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hours), gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
  5. Divide dough into 12 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. This dough is quite elastic; roll out thinly to the size of about 18 cm (7 in) in diameter.
  6. Spoon about 1.5 Tablespoons of the kabocha mixture onto half of each circle, leaving a ½-cm (1/4-in) border. Fold dough over filling; press edges together with a fork to seal. Brush milk over dough. Place turnovers 2 cm (1 in) apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 190°C (375°F) for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
  7. Store extra in refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer in freezer bags. Reheats well.

Challenge Thusfar

Applesauce: 6 apples

Spiced Apple Jam: 3 apples

Kabocha-Apple Whole-Wheat Turnovers: 1 apple

Lemon Apple Jam: 2 apples

Eaten straight: 4 apples

Apples remaining: 4


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Paura says:

    Ugh. You seriously need to marry me. Or I need to strike it rich and hire you as my personal chef. T_T

    1. odorunara says:

      I wish all my recipes got me marriage proposals. ;) And yes, hire me as your chef and put me through a food history graduate program. T_T

  2. toranosuke says:

    omfg that sounds delicious.

    1. odorunara says:

      Delicious AND vegetarian! It seems a lot harder to make than it is. :)

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