Sunday, March 20, 2011

::Homemade Pop Tarts::

Is it hard? Or is it just time consuming? That is what I thought to myself as I was making these and this is the conclusion I came to. Sometimes we don't make recipes because, by looking at the directions they are long and therefore we think it would be hard to make. Bread, for example. The first time I made bread I was intimidated. I was intimidated because I thought bread was hard to make, but quickly learned that it isn't, just maybe a little time consuming. These ::Homemade Pop Tarts:: are out-of-this-world delicious and so worth making. They aren't hard if you follow the directions, just a little time consuming. And maybe they were time consuming just because it was my first time at making them. The ingredients are simple, the directions are easy to follow, and you won't want to ever have store bought pop tarts again. Trust me. The recipe gives some variations of fillings that you can do. I did strawberry and brown sugar. The recipe that I followed doesn't call for frosting them; but to me, what's a pop tart without frosting?! So, for the strawberry I did a regular frosting of just powdered sugar and milk and for the brown sugar ones I did a maple frosting. Deeee-licious! Oh, I can't forget to mention that I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen (another wonderful site that I frequently visit)! We better write that down, since most of the time I say my recipes are from The Pioneer Woman. Enjoy!

::Homemade Pop Tarts::

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Alternate fillings: 9 tablespoons chocolate chips, 9 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste or 9 tablespoons of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or a nut paste

To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
Tip: Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.
Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

::From Scratch:: tip: To frost the pop tarts mix powdered sugar with a little milk and mix until you achieve a runny consistency of frosting. It will harden when it dries. Use plain for the fruit fillings and for the brown sugar filling add a couple drops of maple flavoring (add more as you like) to the frosting. Pour frosting over pop tarts with a spoon and let the frosting harden.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen (who adapted it from King Arthur Flour)

Some of the stars of the show.

You want the butter to be cold, so leave it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Dry ingredients.

Cut the butter into chunks and add to the flour mixture.

Like so. Then, cut in the butter with a pasty cutter or with two forks until it resembles course crumbs.
I'm missing a few pictures for the next steps but wisk the egg and milk together and add. Stirr and knead as necessary.

I kneaded it a few times and got this. Then divided it in half and rolled out.

Flour your surface and rolling pin a little bit.

They aren't perfectly square. But I guess it's about taste and not looks, right? :)

Rolling some more of the dough out...

Besides the water, these are the ingredients for the strawberry jam filling.

Wisk the cornstarch and water together then add the...

jam! Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2 minutes. Then let cool.

For the brown sugar filling. Brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon! Mix together...easy as that!

Put about 1 tablespoon on the pieces of dough that have the eggwash brushed on.

Pinch the seams together with a fork. And then prick holes in the top. This will make sure that steam escapes and you have "flat" pop starts. Not steamy pockets.

Bake until golden brown.

Another shot.

The frosting is just powdered sugar and milk and for the brown sugar filled ones I added some maple. Just pour over with a spoon and let sit. The frosting will harden up. (Make sure you frost after the pop tarts have cooled)

Close up! So yummy!

1 comment:

  1. Just found this post & excited to try it out. Wondering if you've tried freezing them? Would be nice to crank out a few batches to freeze & then warm in the oven/toaster oven. Thanks!