Recipe: Chickpea turnovers

Recipe: Chickpea turnovers
Chickpea turnovers. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: 1 hour, plus chilling time for the pastries

Servings: 24 pastries

Note: This appetizer is based on a Middle Eastern pastry that often is spicy. If you are adding jalapeños to the filling, you can minimize the heat by removing the seeds and membrane before chopping. If you like just a touch of heat, it's best to adjust the pungency of the filling by adding pinches of cayenne pepper.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)

1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño pepper, chopped, if desired

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups drained cooked chickpeas)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cayenne pepper, if desired

2 puff pastry sheets (from a 17.3-ounce frozen package), thawed

1 egg, beaten with pinch of salt, for glaze

1 or 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (white, black, or a mixture of both)

1. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is tender and light golden, about 10 minutes. Add the jalapeño pepper, if using, the garlic and the cumin, and cook over low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Chop the chickpeas in a food processor with a pulsing motion, leaving a few small pieces. Transfer the chickpeas to a medium bowl. Add the onion mixture and mix well. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne.

3. Unfold one pastry sheet on a cool, lightly floured surface (keep the other sheet refrigerated). Roll the pastry sheet out to a 12-by-9-inch rectangle. Cut the sheet into 12 (3-inch) squares.

4. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each square. Brush the edges of the dough around the filling with the beaten egg. Fold the pastry over the filling to form triangles. Pinch the edges together firmly.

5. Sprinkle 2 foil-lined baking sheets with water. Place the filled pastries onto one of the sheets. Brush the center of each pastry with beaten egg, and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Refrigerate the sheet for at least 30 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, roll out the second puff pastry sheet and form the rest of the pastries. This makes about one-half cup more filling than is needed for the pastries; the remaining filling can be used as a spread for toast or crackers.

6. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the pastries for 10 minutes, then rotate each baking sheet and continue baking until the pastries are puffed and browned, about 6 minutes more. Serve hot or warm.

Each pastry: 37 calories; 1 gram protein; 4 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 2 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 8 mg cholesterol; 0 sugar; 39 mg sodium.