I hope everyone had a nice Christmas with your family, friends and loved ones. I absolutely loved having the fluffy snow as a backdrop to our Christmas celebration, and especially loved that it warmed up as soon as Christmas was over :) My 3-yr old really was just in cloud-nine, while my 7-month old was just trying to figure out what the fuss was all about. Red and I don’t normally exchange a ton of extravagant gifts to each other, and we discovered throughout the years that we both are very hard to buy for each other (and I didn’t like surprises very much). But we normally “surprised” each other with a cook-book that we both had talked about getting for ourselves. My surprise to him was this fantastic Flour Cookbook (I was really aiming for their sticky bun’s recipe), that now that we got it, should have gotten a LONG time ago. Lots and lots of fantastic recipes – and this was the first one that we tried and loved.
I grew up eating pop-tarts in high school, and even throughout college years when time for breakfast (or anything else) was scarce (those darn engineering classes and labs!). I even toured their manufacturing site in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as a part of our MBA classes field trips. It was pretty neat, and the smell – oh my goodness, I have to tell you was amazing. That morning when I toured it, they were cranking up blueberry pop-tarts, and I could tell you that it took everything in me not to stick my hands in one of those scrap bins for a taste. This homemade version was just oh crazy good. This was my daughter’s first taste to a pop-tart, and she was pretty happy about it. A little heads up for you – be mindful when handling the dough. I think ours was a little too soft when we handled it, so it turned out a little messy and out-of-shape. But taste wise, the three of us devoured these so quickly that I had to fight off my family to even get a shot of these delicious goodies! I’ll be making these again to stash in the freezer.
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (340 grams) raspberry jam
Simple vanilla glaze
1 cup (140 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons water
Rainbow sprinkles for sprinkling (optional)
Makes about 18 ounces dough, enough for 8 pop-tarts or one 9-inch double-crust or lattice-top pie.
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 (at Flour we call this “going down the mountain”), 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.
Assembling homemade pop-tarts
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
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 a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight 31/2-by-51/2-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 (easier), or a fluted roller (easier and prettier), and following the scored lines, cut the layered dough into 8 rectangles. Place the rectangles, well spaced, on 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, 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 using). 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.
Yield: 8 pastries
Source: “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe” by Joanne Chang. Copyright © 2011 by Chronicle. All rights reserved.