Think of all the things I could have baked with pastry dough. The tarts, the quiche, the sweet cherry pies. And yet…I chose pop tarts.
You heard that right. Homemade pop tarts.
Remember those crisp-edged toasty pastries that came two to a foil pack? The ones that remind you of embroidered initials on L.L.Bean backpacks and stirrup pants and french braids? Well they’re proof that nostalgia has a flavor, and it tastes even richer than the most decadent of confections.
Especially if said pastries have gooey centers filled with brown sugar and cinnamon.
…or rose-hued cherry centers.
Buttery and slightly crumbly, these taste of sweater vests and New Kids on the Block, sleepovers and making jazz squares.
Everything that was good in the world of 1991.Smitten Kitchen)
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold milk or ice water
1 egg (to brush on pastry)
Brown Sugar 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
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water (Using cornstarch is optional, I omitted it)
Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and pour it into your food processor. Add the cold, diced butter and pulse a few times until the mixture has pea-sized lumps of butter, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. You can also make the pastry without the food processor- to do so simply cut in the butter to the bowl of flour, salt, and sugar using a pastry blender or a fork until it is a coarse meal. In either method, once the butter and flour mixture is combined, stream in the ice water and pulse or stir a few times just to moisten the dough and make everything hold together, not to make it wet.
If you didn’t use a food processor, you may find it helpful to knead the dough briefly on a well-floured surface.
If you know what’s good for you- you’ll go with the food processor. It is a world easier.
Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches.
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.
Make the filling: whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat the 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.Whisk
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.