Remember when my sisters and I made strawberry jam? Before the jam was even done, I already knew I wanted to make some homemade pop tarts. I’ve enjoyed the store bought variety many times in my lifetime, but I can’t eat them as an adult without feeling an overwhelming sense of shame. Once a treat is homemade, however, it’s fair game!
The dough uses just a few ingredients that you’re likely to have at home: flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, and milk.
Let me tell you, this dough is really buttery. Like, really really buttery. Like, you-just-rubbed-straight-up-butter-all-over-your-hands kind of buttery. Here’s the thing, though – it’s what makes the pop tarts so wonderfully flaky and damn delicious in the end.
After the dough sits in the fridge for four hours, it’s not as messy. Add a lightly floured rolling surface into the mix and it becomes much more workable and friendlier to use.
Half of the dough is rolled out into an 11 by 14 inch rectangle. Or rectangle-ish shape, which is as best as I can do. The lines you see in the dough are scored lines that act as a guide for the eight tarts and don’t go all the way through.
A lightly beaten egg is brushed over the entire surface of the dough and acts as a glue to help seal the tarts.
Now the ingredient that started this mess! Ladies and gents, I now present the strawberry jam…
The other half of the dough is also rolled out into an 11 by 14 inch rectangle and placed on top. Gently press the dough together around the jam to help seal it in. It looks like giant ravioli, doesn’t it?
Below is what happens when the dough isn’t completely sealed. Yup, the jam tries to make a run for it. If this happens to you too, know that it’ll be super tasty all the same, but you will have some stubborn baked jam to clean off your cookie sheet.
Something to note: at room temp, the dough becomes very delicate. I used a pastry scraper to lift and move each pop tart onto my baking sheet. I was certain they wouldn’t hold together if I moved them by hand.
After the pop tarts have baked and cooled completely, spoon some easy vanilla frosting over the tops and add some sprinkle zazz. The frosting is easy – it’s one cup powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and two or three tablespoons of water (I used two).
Recipe from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe
by Joanne Chang with Christie Matheson
Makes 8 Pop-Tarts
1 Pate Brisee (fancy word for pastry dough) recipe – see recipe below
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup strawberry jam
Easy Vanilla Glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 Tbsp water
First make the Pate Brisee (aka – fancy dough) that’s below and chill for at least 4 hours. You can even make it a few days ahead of time and chill. After the dough is ready, then start here.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
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 an 11 by 14 inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight 3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch rectangles (about the size of an index card).
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.
Using a knife, a pizza roller, or a fluted roller, and following the scored lines, cut the layered dough into 8 rectangles. Place the rectangles, well spaced, on a baking sheet. (Again, I used a pastry scraper to move the rectangles onto a baking sheet.)
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 extract, and enough of the water to make a smooth, pourable glaze. You should have about 1/2 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 you want to add some zazz). 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.
Makes about 18 ounces dough, enough for 8 pop-tarts
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp 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.
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