A good apple turnover, like a good man, is hard to find. We're talking seriously good here: flaky, moist, buttery pastry, just firm enough, not too sweet, apples that have been cooked and carmelized before fill the pastry, and-this is key-the right ratio of pastry to apples.
Bad apple turnovers are ubiquitous in New York and elsewhere. You know the ones I'm talking about: hard, unyielding pastry, gelatinous apple filling that belongs in a Hostess Apple pie, and that disgusting white frosting that should be used as mortar.
The unquestioned apple turnover queen in New York is Madeleine Lanciani of Duane Park Patisserie, 179 Duane Street (between Hudson and Greenwich Sts.) 212-274-8447. Her apple turnovers are flakier than Robin Williams, and so buttery they would be banned from every cardiologist's waiting room I can think of. WARNING: In order to secure one of these turnovers you must get to the shop before ten a.m. I can't tell you how many times I've been disappointed when I waltz in there ship around noon.
New York's best unsung apple turnover can be had at Patisserie Margot (2109 Broadway (on 74th Street just west of Broadway) 212-721-0076. Nacole Jacam's turnovers are rectangularly shaped rather than triangular. But the pastry is light and crunchy and delicious, and the filling is cinammony and almost tart. I only wish the pastry to filling ratio was a little lower.
Claude,the impossibly French owner of Patisserie Claude (187 West 4th St. (bet. sixth and seventh avenues.) 212-255-5911, is so grouchy I always hesitate before recommending anyone going into his patisserie. I relent every time because his apple turnovers and croissants are so damn fine. Claude did smile at me last time I was in there, maybe it was because I bought one of everything he had out, or maybe he's just mellowing out as he gets older.
I can't think of another apple turnover in this berg worth calling out. Did I miss any?