A biscuit, fried, raw-apple version.
Calling something a turnover is like calling it a sandwich–it tells you a lot about the structure of what you’re going to get, but nothing about the substance. Over the years, the apple turnover has taken on quite few different guises.
This early recipe for a “turnover,” from the September 27, 1894 Indianapolis Sun, is what we’d call an apple dumpling today:
Apple turnovers: Make a very rich “short” pastry, roll it out and cut into squares about five inches wide. Set in the middle of each a large pared and cored apple; drop into each apple a piece of butter about as big as the end of one’s thumb, fill up the hole with sugar and put more around the outside of the fruit. Into the sugar stick two inches of cinnamon and press three cloves into the flesh of the apple. Lay a slice of lemon on the top of all this, then take up the four corners of the pastry, pinch them into a knot over the apple and let them bake in a good quick oven so that the pastry may be well browned, but they must have time to be well done. This way of doing apples is very rich and good. They may be eaten with or without cream.
Here’s a baked version made with puff pastry and pre-cooked apples from the February 22, 1902 edition of The (Frederick, Maryland) News:
And here’s one with fresh apples and pie crust from the October 31, 1903 edition of the Mansfield (Ohio) News:
To make apple turnovers roll out some good pie crust in a circle. Slice a tart apple very thin and lay in the center–sprinkle plentifully with sugar. Season with a little cinnamon, nutmeg, or caraway, as preferred; bring the edges of the crust together, pinch tightly, and lay in a greased saucer or pie tin. Prick a small pattern for a vent on top, and bake in a moderate oven.
And here’s one with a biscuit crust and a pre-cooked filling from the October 23, 1906 edition of The Racine (Wisconsin) Weekly Journal:
Apple Turnovers.–Use a rich biscuit crust for your apple turnovers; the fillings should be cooked down until thick. Roll out the dough, cut in circles about the size of a coffee saucer, put on each a large spoonful of the sauce, and pinch well together, that none of the sauce may ooze out. These may be either fried in deep fat or baked in a quick oven; if the latter method is chosen, try sprinkling them thickly with a mixture of cinnamon and granulated sugar.
I’d never encountered an apple turnover made with a biscuit crust, and my gut reaction was that frying a biscuit dough in general would be tricky, because the expanding baking powder might unwrap the contents. But since evidently, fried biscuits are a thing, it’s possible I’m wrong.
What I am comparatively sure about is that you would only want to deep fry a turnover stuffed with raw apples if you were using a biscuit crust. With anything else, the water released by the cooking apples would either make it soggy on the inside (best case scenario) or turn to steam, expand, and leak water into the oil.
From a box sold in River Forest, Illinois.
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup milk
Cut apples in thin slices.
Fry in deep fat slowly.