While the rest of my family spends the vast amount of our time here in California (where we all reside), Dad still periodically visits Hawaii (where he was raised and where his parents still live) on business trips. He has a sweet tooth, so it's not just to fulfill Mom's requests that he brings back a few sweets upon returning to the mainland. Among the many confections that are uniquely Hawaiian (e.g., baked Okinawan sweet potato manju, coco puffs), azuki turnovers are some of the few that Dad always brings back for himself and Mom. I've enjoyed sweet red bean paste for as long as I can remember, so it's no surprise that a pastry filled with it would appeal to me. But like nearly all of the Hawaii-style food I ate as a child, azuki turnovers (and pretty much all pastries in Hawaii) are not vegan. Fortunately, I like a good food challenge, so I was ready to put my pastry-making skills to the test by attempting to recreate azuki turnovers, the vegan way.
Because it has been a few years since I've actually eaten an azuki turnover, I couldn't recall the specific type of pastry it used. My instinct said the base was essentially pie crust. However, when considering how I would execute my pastry plan, I became a bit distracted from my goal. More specifically, I remembered envying Vegan Dad's impeccable homemade baked goods, particularly those included in his laminated dough series. Thinking back to how my first attempt at homemade vegan croissants was only vaguely memorable (i.e., adequate), I started to have flaky, yeasted pastry on the brain. Obsessing over croissants made me second-guess my instinct about the azuki turnover base being pie crust; I wondered whether it could, in fact, be more Danish pastry-like. (At this point, I had already re-read Vegan Dad's Danish pastry dough post several times.) In the end, it turns out I was wrong about the Danish pastry and right about the pie crust. Of course, I didn't realize any of that until after I had experimented with the turnovers using both. The good news is that both variations were delicious and I am newly confident about my ability to properly make laminated dough.
baking instructions as guidelines, although subsequent batches revealed that leaving the pastries in a few minutes longer than the suggested duration yielded the best results (which is why the batch shown here is a little pale). I had also shaped the turnovers in the way I best remembered them, laying a strip of homemade tsubu an diagonally down the center of a square piece of dough, folding two opposite corners across the middle. The corners didn't stay down when the turnovers baked, so the resulting pastries look a bit misshapen. Then again, by that point, I knew immediately that I was obviously wrong in even considering that the dough could have been anything like Danish pastry, so the uneven appearance didn't really matter. And my non-vegan brother and sister-in-law absolutely loved these turnovers (as did I), so all was not lost.