Power of the Pop-Tart
I don’t want to deny my girls the simple pleasures of life, such as mac n’ cheese, hot dogs and pop-tarts, but I just can’t bring myself to buy processed foods that I know we can make better.
You certainly don’t need to have kids to appreciate these delicious individual pies. Flaky, buttery pastry filled with sweet jam decadence; all of the taste, none of the preservatives. It’s not all breakfast bliss, however. Compared to pushing a toaster button, these do require some effort and patience. Here is your complete pro and con list for making yourself:
- Much better taste
- Opportunity to use local ingredients
- Pastry delicately crumbles on your shirt as you bite into, leaving little snacks for later
- Fun to prepare on your own or with your little people tartlets
- Easily gift wrapped with wax or parchment paper and string. Incredible homemade flavour greatly increases possibility of recipient falling in love with you
- No waste in packaging
- Same price (if not less money to make) than the boxed version
- No threat of growing a 3rd arm from lab-born ingredients.
- A greater investment in time (greater than opening plastic wrap and pushing down on the toaster button, that is.). The dough requires a minimum of 4 hours in the refrigerator before rolled, 40 minutes to bake and another 30 minutes to cool and set before adding the glaze and serving. If you would like to enjoy for breakfast, I recommend preparing in full the day before and enjoying directly from the refrigerator, stored in an air-tight container.
Just remember, all great things take time. I used the last of our own homemade strawberry jam for this round. If you are more of a raspberry, blueberry or marmalade fan, go for it. Just remember to keep it local whenever you can. You can enjoy these tarts as a breakfast on the go, serve with brunch or consider adding a scoop of ice cream for dessert. I think my next round may include brie, raspberry jam and a chopped almond sprinkle on top. Mmmm..
Original recipe by Joanne Chang of Boston’s Flour Bakery
Creates 5 large “tarts”
- Pastry dough (recipe below)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup strawberry jam (or whichever flavour you prefer)
- Simple vanilla glaze
- Rainbow sprinkles (optional)
Makes enough for 5 large pop-tarts or one 9-inch double-crust or lattice-top pie
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks / 228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cold milk
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), mix together the flour, sugar, and salt for 10 to 15 seconds, or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top. Mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or just until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it and lumps of butter the size of pecans are visible throughout.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk until blended. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough just barely comes together. It will look really shaggy and more like a mess than a dough.
Dump the dough out onto an unfloured work surface, then gather it together into a tight mound. Using your palm and starting on one side of the mound, smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top of the mound and then sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface, until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough and the dough comes together. Do this once or twice on each part of the dough, moving through the mound until the whole mess has been smeared into a cohesive dough with streaks of butter.
Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Simple Vanilla Glaze
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- dash of vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons water
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Press each half into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Using a knife, or a pizza roller (easier) cut 3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch rectangles (about the size of an index card) in each sheet of rolled dough. You should have 10 rectangles. (Note: My first time, I found it easier to cut smaller similar-sized squares and roll each individually to the larger size.) Place half of the rectangles, well spaced, on a baking sheet.
Brush the top surface of the entire scored rectangle with the egg. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the jam in a mound in the center of each scored rectangle. Lay the second large dough rectangle directly on top of the first. Using fingertips, carefully press down all around each jam mound, so the pastry sheets adhere to each other. Seal tightly so the jam won’t seep through when baking.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops of the pastries are evenly golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
To make the glaze: While the pastries are cooling, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and enough of the water to make a smooth, pourable glaze. You should have about 1/4 cup. (The glaze can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)
When the pastries have cooled for 30 minutes, brush the tops evenly with the glaze, then sprinkle with the rainbow sprinkles (if using). Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the glaze to set before serving.
The pastries can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Enjoy! xoAdd to favorites