I don’t remember when I first met Carla.
It was so long ago I have forgotten our initial encounter. My sister-in-law Shari met Carla in the 1970’s when Carla was a young dance instructor and Shari was in high school. Shari met my Brother Dave around that same time and a lifelong friendship began amongst the three of them. Carla is the kind of creative and spirited woman that my brother loved; they were the closest of confidantes for the following thirty years.
I always liked Carla and she was someone who I admired from afar. I had heard about her for years through the glowing praises of my brother and ran into her from time to time through that connection, but the first regular encounters between Carla and I were around 1996 when Hubby and I returned to the States from Australia. Carla has a french husband, style and grace that one can only be born with, and a business which has evolved over the years from creating exquisite hand-sewn couture gloves and clothing, to her current passion designing jewelry fit for royalty or rock stars, an aesthetic mix that I find perfect in every way. Some of Carla’s early couture pieces, which I cherish and wear to this day, were handmade by Carla in her little studio at her home. She still makes couture jewelry in her Camille K Atelier but her focus now is manufacturing pieces that are unlike any other jewelry I have seen and each piece I buy becomes my new favorite.
Over the years, visiting my family and going to Carla’s shows, Carla and I became friends. We shared many meals and evenings together at parties, at her events, at my brothers house and at her house. But it wasn’t until the year following the deaths of both my brother and Carla’s father that she invited me to lunch. After considering Carla a friend for over fifteen years, this was to be our first meal alone together.
We didn’t stop talking from the moment we sat down. We talked about her business, our children, our lives. We talked about our mothers both living on their own, our dreams and our futures. We talked about her father and my brother. She said, “Did I ever tell you about the Apple Turnovers?”
Her story was not long. I choked up the moment she started because she captured the essence of Dave completely. Childlike in his ways, irresistible in his boyhood charm, my brother was completely and wholly loved by Carla. Her story started with a dinner party at her house.
After greeting her guests and getting them settled with a drink, Carla went into the kitchen. Within minutes, my brother barged in, demanding to know what she was making for dinner in his nosy, brusque, endearing way. It didn’t matter what Carla was cooking at that moment because Dave immediately focused on the plate of apple turnovers leftover from breakfast that morning. Carla’s husband loved turnovers and she had a wonderfully simple recipe to whip them up on any given morning so it was common to find them on her counter. Dave said “Can I have one of these?” as he picked it up, poised to take a bite. Carla, who knew better than to impart any reason on Dave; was thinking “You are just about to eat dinner, do you really want an apple turnover?” But what she said was, “Of course.”
As the story goes, Dave told Carla that she was never to make the turnovers again without calling him so he could stop by for breakfast. Dave had a way of insisting on things so that you had to comply. The next time Carla made the turnovers, she was reminded of Dave and his request which was positioned more as a demand, and smiled as she doubled the recipe. Turnovers baked and cooling on the rack, Carla called Dave. He answered, in his familiar gruff conjoviality, “What do you want?” Carla replied, “I think the question is what do I have that YOU want?”
Carla told Dave she had something he needed to get in the next fifteen minutes. Dave and Carla were such good friends that he didn’t even question her. They arranged to meet in ten minutes in the bank parking lot downtown. Carla arrived to the designated spot, pulled her car up to Dave’s car where he sat with my other brother Bill, and Carla handed Dave the foil-wrapped package through the window. “What is this?” he asked. “You made me promise,” said Carla.
Dave opened the package and ate one. He gave one to Bill and grabbed another. Carla said, “I made you six so you could share them with Shari.” Dave just smiled and drove away. Carla spoke to Shari that night and discovered that indeed one turnover had made it home that morning. The question that was never answered was did Dave eat three or four turnovers during the five minute drive back to his house?
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Carla’s Apple Turnovers
(Makes 8 turnovers)
1 box frozen puff pastry dough (Carla uses La Boulange Artisan)
1 egg yolk, whisked in a small bowl
1/2 cup of your favorite preserves or pie filling (Local/organic is best and it doesn’t have to be apple! Use any flavor or filling you like. I used apple pie filling.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Take puffed pastry from freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes or until soft enough to fold without cracking.
Lay out one sheet of pastry flat and brush with egg yolk.
Cut into 4 equal squares.
Spoon 1 T of jam into the center of each square.
Fold over each square into a triangle and press closed with fork prongs.
Brush top with egg yolk and place onto parchment lined baking sheet.
Repeat with second sheet of pastry.
Cut a small slit into the top of each turnover and bake 20-25 minutes or until brown and flaky.
Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.