I made pop-tarts today!
"I made pop-tarts today." That wasn't a sentence I thought I would say. I made pop-tarts from scratch!
The crust was super easy to make, the longest stretch of 'work' was the rolling, measuring and cutting into proper rectangles. But then, the filling was super easy: I just used nutella, jam and a quick cinnamon blend. SO worth the time.
And then, the ultimate test: the freezer. I froze a number of the pop-tarts between sheets of parchment (then inside a Ziploc). Then a few days later, popped them straight from freezer to oven, and you know? They turned out beautifully. I am on a newish mission to fill my freezer with everything from ragu to entrees and chicken stock, tomato sauce and pesto. I want to figure out what 'works' in the freezer and what doesn't. Having my freezer be my kitchen friend means I have meals ready-ahead-of-time, homemade chicken stock when I need it or breadcrumbs at the ready. It is nice to be able to pull together a meal---or slide pop-tarts from freezer to oven---with all the 'work' already finished.
So when I am busy right up to the moment that my boys return from school, all I have to do is open my freezer, skim the contents and toss the pop-tarts into the oven. The front door opens and: 'man, it smells good in here!' is music to my ears---and good memories on their tongues.
And in making these pop-tarts, my adolescent sons had no problem being the official taste-testers: Strawberry jam? gone. Apricot Jam? blink. blink. Chocolate? bye-bye. Oooohhh cinnamon: make this one again. Wow that is good. You get the idea: they suffer.
Pastry 2 cups AP flour 1 T sugar 1 tsp salt 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats 1 large egg 2 T milk
another egg (to brush on pastry)
Cinnamon Filling 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 4 tsp flour blend sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
Jam Filling 3/4 cup jam (I used mixed berry, apricot and strawberry and all were fantastic! I plan to try lemon marmalade next) 1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T cold water simmer jam and cornstarch mixture in saucepan for 2 min. to thicken---let cool.
Make the pastry In bowl, blend flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, to make pea-sized lumps; whisk egg and milk together, then add to flour/butter mixture. Mix just until dough comes together, add a bit more flour if necessary, so the dough is no longer sticky. Divide dough in half, form into bricks and proceed (or wrap in parchment and put in fridge up to 2 days).
Assemble the pop-tarts If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, roll into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick---to the size of a 9x13 pan. Repeat with second pastry brick. Measure and cut into 9 rectangles; brush one whole sheet with egg wash---this will glue the top and bottom together. Place filling on the egg-washed sheet, keeping a 1/2 inch frame bare. Top with matching pastry, seal with fingers, then with tines of a fork (and prick holes in the top). Repeat to form 9 pop-tarts.
Heat oven to 350; place pop-tarts on parchment on cookie sheet, then in fridge for 30 min. Then bake 20-25 minutes until light golden brown, cool on rack (and don't burn your tongue---YES they smell good but wait a few minutes for the filling to cool).