Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Homemade Pop Tarts

I'm not sure what's the matter with me. When James innocently asked the other day if we had any more pop tarts (okay the hippie organic blueberry toaster pastries I get at Trader Joe's) instead of putting a box on my shopping list . . . I decided to make my own.
You see I had this bowl of fruit in the fridge, and there was that recipe in Bon Appetit not too long ago, and it has to be better if it's homemade, right?
Besides James and I had both just read a New York Times article detailing the terrifying amount of salt in the most unexpected of prepared foods, the nutrition guilt induced by that little blue box was more than I could bear.
So I set out on my task. On closer inspection I found that every on-line recipe used prepared jam as an ingredient. That didn't help with my bowl of stone fruits waiting for a recipe so my first step was to make a batch of jam. I quartered the peaches, plums, and nectarines still left from last weeks farmer's market trip and covered the resulting 12 cups of fruit with 3 cups of sugar and let it sit, covered, overnight in the fridge. I then simmered the fruit until thick and jammy and ready to fill my waiting pastry. The apricots, peaches, and plums made a tangy sweet jam. These were adult pop tarts after all, plan for pink sprinkles aside. Step 1 done.
For the pastry I followed Smitten Kitchen's lead and went for a flaky pastry with egg and milk which whipped up in a flash in the food processor. I kept the pastry cool and refrigerated the filled tarts before baking for, as James called it, "astounding flakiness."
By the time I rolled out my first piece of dough I was feeling pretty confident -- these are just another version of hand pies I told myself and set to work making 16 evenly (sort of) sized rectangles from each batch of crust (I made two batches). I laid 8 bottom crusts out on a parchment covered baking pan, brushed each bottom crust with a bit of beaten egg, added a hefty TB of my homemade jam filling (James thought I could use less filling -- "People aren't used to so much in their tarts," he reasoned.), covered with a second crust and used a fork to seal the tart all around. I cut a few slits in the center of the top crust to keep my pop tarts from puffing up.
After 25 minutes in a 350º oven I had 16 flaky pastries waiting for glaze and a cheerful sprinkle of sugar sprinkles. I mixed powdered sugar with just enough milk to make a nice pourable consistency and drizzled until I was nearly dizzy from the site of my adorable little tarts waiting to snuggle up to morning coffee.

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