The Hallmark Hannah Swensen Movie Event: Apple Turnovers, Brie and Apple Sandwiches, and Apple Cider

I seriously love when Xak and I do movie themed afternoon teas. I call these our “immersive food experiences.” Really it’s just an excuse for me to eat the same food as whoever I’m watching on TV. Trust me, it’s awesome.

For this particular day, Xak and I were super excited for the release of the new Hallmark mystery movie, “One Bad Apple” based on the Hannah Swensen book “Apple Turnover Murder” by Joanne Fluke. Previously, we had done an event for the release of another Hallmark Hannah Swensen movie “A Zest for Murder”, and celebrated that with some lemon bars and our first attempt at pavlovas as a nod to the Lemon Meringue themed book.

For our special apple event, we decided on the following menu:

  • Homemade Apple Cider
  • Brie and Apple Sandwiches
  • Marge’s Apple Turnovers (from the Hannah Swensen book, Apple Turnover Murder)

Apple Cider

Back in January, we went to Pablo’s parents’ house for brunch. Pablo’s mom is an excellent cook and loves food as much as Xak and I do. It’s great knowing there’s someone else in the world who understands that a bulk sized bag of Skinny Pop is actually meant for one person.

On that day, Pablo’s mom had made apple cider in a crock pot. The moment we walked into the door, the air smelled like warm spices and I wanted to go run and put on a pair of Uggs (Note: I do not own Uggs). As we waited for all the brunch food to be prepared, Pablo doled out the cider into cups along with a cinnamon stick. This is seriously Fall in a cup! I ended up drinking multiple cups before brunch even began. Luckily, Pablo’s mom was kind enough to give us the recipe.

While Xak and I are tea and coffee fans, apple cider shoots up in the rankings between September and January. During Autumn, apple cider is always prominently displayed in the front of our grocery store, with the extra jugs conveniently located close to the apple section in the produce department. However, when it’s off season, it’s nearly impossible to find. After ten minutes of me circling the produce and juice departments, I finally found it in the organic refrigerated juice section. A questionable location considering it doesn’t seem to need refrigeration during Fall time, but I guess they just need to get it out of the way.


The ingredients for Pablo’s mom’s apple cider actually includes store bought apple cider which may sound silly, but think of it like adding chicken broth to your chicken noodle soup. Maybe one day we’ll actually go to an apple orchard, painstakingly hand select only the most perfect apples from the trees and then juice the fruits of our labor (😏) , but not today. The other ingredients were sugar, an orange, an apple (hm), and cinnamon sticks.

The recipe is pretty easy. All you do is gather the ingredients, cut up the apple, peel the orange, and then put them all in a pot. While Pablo’s mom made hers in a crock pot, I decided to use my soup pot on the stove since showtime was in about an hour.

After boiling and simmering, the house ended up smelling amazing and the result was an incredible tasting apple cider. Bring on the Fall vibes!

Brie and Apple Sandwiches

Since we wanted to go all out with the apple theme, I thought about what savories we could do. We recently made some cornish pasties with pork shoulder, herbs, and apples from the Downton Abbey cookbook. They were great! They also took a lot of time and I wanted something a little simpler.

I ate my first brie and apple sandwich when I went to Lady Camellia back in its original Georgetown location. Not many tea places seem to serve these, and I wish they would start. I was glad to still see them on the menu during my last Lady Camellia visit in Alexandria. These sandwiches sound basic, but they’re very tasty and seem extremely appropriate for an apple themed event.

One of my favorite things about this sandwich is its versatility. I’ve seen versions that are grilled so the cheese is melty, or include extra condiments like dijon mustard or a fruit jam. You could even add some ham or turkey if you wanted to make it more substantial. The apples can add sweetness or tartness depending on which type you choose. For bread, sourdough or a French baguette are good choices.

For our event sandwich, I just used slabs of brie layered in between slices of Granny Smith apples, and encased in two pieces of sandwich bread. You can make this as fancy as you want, but I like keeping things very simple. It’s still very delicious and perfect for tea or an apple themed movie event.

Marge’s Apple Turnovers (from Hannah Swensen)

I’ve listened to every single Hannah Swensen book by Joanne Fluke thanks to the library. Each book contains several recipes that are incorporated into the storyline. I absolutely love audiobooks while I’m walking or cleaning but listening to a recipe is pretty challenging. You have to keep pausing and rewinding to make sure you used 1 teaspoon and not one tablespoon, or that you use baking powder and not baking soda. Luckily the library also has the physical and e-book version so I can gather ingredients without having to keep hitting pause.

When I suggested to Xak that we do an apple event for the Hannah Swensen movie, he happily obliged. Since the Hallmark movie was based on the “Apple Turnover Murder” book, it seemed appropriate to celebrate the movie release with the title treat. The turnovers play a pretty important role in the book, so they have to be good, right?

In all of Xak’s many years of baking, he’s surprisingly never made a turnover. I even checked in my archives (aka my phone’s photo roll) and sure enough, not a turnover in sight. He enjoys making pies, poptarts, and tarts, but no turnover. Come to think of it, we don’t really eat too many turnovers even at coffee shops.

While Xak is accustomed to making everything from scratch, the recipe called for ready made puff pastry. I wasn’t too heartbroken to not have to make our own puff pastry, although I could sense Xak wishing he could. Since we wanted to follow the recipe to a tee, we added puff pastry sheets to our grocery list. If this recipe was a success, Xak could go nuts making a rough puff in the future.


The ingredients seemed very standard for an apple themed dessert and we had most things on hand, with the exception of the apples (important). Although Xak wouldn’t be making dough, he would still be spending quite a long time having to peel and de-core apples for the filling.

Xak obtained his old school apple peeler/corer from his grandmother. There’s quite a bit of setup involved including attaching it to your counter. I don’t have the patience for this, so normally I just peel apples by hand and cut away at the core until it’s “good enough”. Xak, however, loves getting this specialized tool out and has gotten to be quite skilled at peeling apples. I’m not sure how useful this skill is, however a quick Google Search showed me that apparently there are several contests for “longest apple peel” at various state fairs. Interesting…

Making the Filling

After Xak finished peeling the apples, it was time to assemble the filling. This consisted of mixing the thinly sliced and peeled apples, the cranberries, spices, sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl until everything was fully coated with favor. The filling smelled really good and I had that strange urge to put on those Uggs I don’t actually own. 😄

Assembling the Puff Pastry

The next step was to roll out the puff pastry dough and cut into even pieces. As a crafter, I cut a lot of fabric, but it takes me forever, I get impatient, and then it turns out crooked and I get mad. Luckily, during baking time, Xak just goes right in with his little pizza cutter. It all tastes the same anyway.

It turned out we had a ton more filling than we did dough. In fact, our “square-ish” dough seemed to be quite overstuffed even though there didn’t seem to be too much fruit. After distributing the fruit to all the turnovers, Xak took the excess to store away for a future baking treat.

Although the turnovers weren’t as neat as you might find in a professional bakery, they would hopefully be great for our movie event. The turnovers were ready to go into the oven and hopefully would rise and turn an “apeeling” (😏) shade of golden brown. As we anxiously cleaned up the kitchen waiting for the timer to go off, the kitchen started to smell even more delicious. When the timer went off, Xak opened the oven and proudly pulled out a sheet of wonderful golden brown turnovers.

Ok, I might be a turnover fan now.

The “One Bad Apple” Movie Premiere

For the last touch, we broke into the Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Swizzle sticks gifted to us by Pablo’s mom. I’ve never seen these before, but they looked like they would be excellent within our apple cider. As it turned out, they were perfect!

Although not exactly faithful to the book, the movie was still pretty good. The food was excellent! The turnovers were nice and crisp. The apple filling was really tasty and I finished the turnover about 2 minutes into the movie. The cider was amazing just like I remembered and the cinnamon swizzle stick was really fun! Finally, the brie and apple sandwich was good and added some nice saltiness to today’s sweet treat tray.

I am so excited for Fall to come. We’re totally making this again.

Bonus: The Apple Poptarts

We hate wasting food or ingredients and since Xak had all that excess apple turnover filling, the only logical thing to do was make poptarts. Honestly, I didn’t actually see any of this happen. Xak just loves baking and sometimes I wake up and I find freshly baked goods on wire racks in our kitchen. Yes, I am spoiled and extremely blessed.

So for my coffee breaks this week, everyday I got to enjoy a delicious homemade poptart. Thank you, Xak! 🥰

Can’t wait for the next Hallmark Hannah Swensen film to be released so we can do another immersive food event! Devil’s Food Cake Murder is sounding pretty good… 😋

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