Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Old School Strawberry Pop Tarts
For those of you who love good food, and I'm assuming it's all of you reading this blog, you have to visit Flour Bakery. There are multiple locations but the closest one to me is the one on Mass Ave in Central. Luckily for me, one day my boyfriend took me out to lunch to Flour Bakery and gosh oh gosh, it was delicious. Joanne Chang, owner and head pastry chef, is quite a genius, literally. She graduated from Harvard with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics. On top of that, she can bake some of the most divine desserts, not to mention savory. She's basically my role model and I absolutely adore her. And, it's not because we're both Asian. She and her husband also own Meyers + Chang in the South End, which has a complex menu of their interpretation of all sorts of Asian specialties.
But I digress. On that beautiful day, I not only had a delicious chocolate cupcake but possibly one of the best and freshest sandwiches ever. It was the roasted chicken with strips of jicama and avocado - you have to try it. Light and refreshing, mmmm nom nom nom. As I waited for my food, I was reading the cookbook that Joanne had recently published. I stumbled across a recipe for Pop Tarts. She was saying how when she was young, all she ever wanted was to taste a Pop Tart but her mother would never buy them. I then thought about my own childhood. I was in love, possibly even obsessed, with strawberry Pop Tarts. It was either that or Toaster Strudel for breakfast on my way to school. Since my boyfriend drooled over the page and begged for me recreate them, I decided I would take a stab at it.
If you want, you can buy pre-made pie crust from the local grocery store instead of making your own crust. This crust is basically a pie crust with an egg, which creates a firmer crust as opposed to being too flaky.
Loosely Adapted from Joanne Chang's Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
2 cups flour (I substituted 1/2 cup with whole wheat and it was even better)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 whole egg
1 tbsp milk
1 whole egg for when you assemble the pop tarts
3/4 cup strawberry jam (I used preserves for a sweeter and chunkier taste)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
Food coloring/sprinkles (Optional but definitely encouraged)
1. For the filling: Stir the cornstarch and water together. Mix that with the jam in a pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool.
2. For the crust: In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Slice in the butter. You can use a pastry blender and if you're like me, who likes to get down and dirty with food, use your hands. I would definitely place the butter in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and the flour in the refrigerator before handling, if you're using your hands. The colder the ingredients the flakier and nicer your dough would be. It'll look like little pebbles. In a small bowl, mix together the egg and water. Slowly incorporate it into the flour mixture.
3. Take half of the dough and roll it out until it's about 1/8 inch thick. You can then cut out rectangles. I didn't have a big cookie cutter, so being innovative, I used my blackberry as the point of reference. Oh, they're more than just a phone. Once you have everything cut out, beat the additional egg and brush the pieces of dough that would become the bottom layer.
4. Place a big spoonful of filling onto the bottom layer and then place a second layer on top. Pinch the edges together and use a fork to poke holes on top to let the steam escape. Then, use the fork to make the ridges on the edges of the pop tart. Repeat with the remaining dough.
5. Place all the pop tarts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate the pop tarts while you preheat the oven to 350, so that the dough can rest and set up again.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet 10 minutes into baking.
7. While the pop tarts are cooling, you can whip up the glaze. Mix the confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, milk and food coloring, if you are adding it. Once the pop tarts have cooled, glaze them and add a little bit of sprinkles on top.