Cherry-Rose Turnovers

The audiobook version of When We Vanished is coming out on March 14, otherwise known as pi day, so you bet I’m taking the opportunity to bake some pastry! In fact, cherry turnovers are mentioned in several of the opening chapters, and since three of the main characters are Iranian-American, I wanted to give them a Persian spin. Thus, these cherry-rose turnovers were born!

three cherry turnovers with pink icing arrayed on top of a blue floral cloth

This recipe is a twist on the more basic (but also delicious) Cherry Hand Pies I posted way back in 2020. Choose the version that strikes your fancy and celebrate pi day (and WWV release day) in style!

Cherry-Rose Turnovers

Take your hand-held cherry pies to the next level by adding a subtle floral note to the filling.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 8 turnovers
Author: Alanna Peterson


Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups cherries, pitted; frozen or fresh
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • A few drops rose extract, or 1 tsp rosewater

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 5 Tbsp coconut oil, solid
  • 3-5 Tbsp ice water

Icing Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp cherry juice, or water
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


Make the Filling

  • Combine cherries, lime juice, and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture starts to simmer, about 5 minutes. If desired, reserve about 2 Tbsp of cherry liquid (for making the icing).
  • Whisk together arrowroot/cornstarch and water in a small bowl, then pour into the cherries, stirring constantly. Cook another minute or two until thickened.
  • Add the rose extract or rosewater. Start with just a few drops, as the flavor can be overwhelming if you add too much! Taste as you go and add drop by drop until it's to your liking.
  • Remove from heat and allow to fully cool to room temperature. If you're pressed for time, you can stick the saucepan in the freezer and stir every so often.

Make the Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • While the filling cools, make the crust. Mix together the flour and salt, then cut in the coconut oil using a pastry cutter or two knives. Note, the oil needs to be solid for this recipe, so if it’s summer and your coconut oil has melted in the heat of the house, you’ll need to put it in the fridge until it firms up.
  • Once the coconut oil has been incorporated (make sure there aren’t any large chunks remaining; the mixture should look sandy), add the water a tablespoon at a time. Mix with a fork until the mixture starts to come together. You don’t want to add too much water or the crust will lose its flakiness, but if you don’t add enough it will be difficult to roll out, so stop adding water when you are able to form the dough into a ball.
  • Roll out the dough. At this point, you have several options. You can either cut it into squares for triangular pies, or use an upturned bowl like a cookie cutter to cut out rounded pies. The bowl method tends to make more uniformly sized pies (unless you break out the ruler, I guess) but involves more rolling since you have more scraps. Up to you!

Assemble the Turnovers

  • Place the dough squares/circles onto your baking tray and fill each one with a few tablespoons of the cherry mixture. Try not to overfill or you’ll have a lot of juice spilling out when you seal them up.
  • Seal the edges with a fork and slice a small opening in the top to let steam escape. If you want to skip the icing, you can sprinkle the top of the pies with sugar to give them an extra layer of sweet crunchiness.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375° F. When finished, the bottoms should be golden brown and there will probably be a few delicious little pools of cherry filling bubbling on the pan.

Make the Icing

  • While the turnovers bake, combine the icing ingredients in a small bowl, adding more liquid if needed to make a thin, smooth icing.
  • Drizzle the icing over the turnovers once they've cooled for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy!


Using unrefined coconut oil will give the pastry a subtle coconut flavor. If you aren’t into that, try refined coconut oil, vegetable shortening, or plant butter instead.

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