Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pop Tarts- Time to get back to basics and real goodness!

I remember when Pop Tarts first hit the grocery store shelves.  They became a kid "staple" for breakfast and snacks... I guess those were the days when ingredients and real nutrition didn't matter so much.  Actually, mom was a great home cook, so perhaps a little junk food wasn't so bad.

These fancy modern processed "treats" had simpler, more flavourful and, dare I say, healthier ancestors.  This recipe was developed by Hedy Goldsmith, an amazing baker whose recipes I am looking forward to trying out.  She gives her Pop T's an adult spin.

For 16 pop tarts.

2 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1/2  cup flaxmeal
2     tbsp granulated sugar
2     tsp kosher salt
1     cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes and very cold
7     tbsp ice water
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1     extra large egg, at room temperature
3/4  cup good quality jam
1/3  cup turbinado sugar

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, and salt until blended.  Add the butter, and mix on medium-low speed for four minutes, or until very small pieces of butter are visible.  Combine six tablespoons of the ice water and the vinegar and add it to the flour mixture.  Mix on medium speed until moist crumbles of dough form.

Scrape the dough and any remaining flour onto a work surface and knead six to eight times, until the mixture comes together in a smooth dough.  Do not overwork the dough or the tarts will be tough.

Divide the dough in half, then shape both halves into flat, even rectangles and cover one in plastic wrap so that it doesn't dry out.

Put a large piece of parchment paper on a work surface.  Put the unwrapped rectangle of dough on the center and top it with another sheet of parchment paper.  Roll the dough into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle slightly larger than 14 x 10 inches, stopping occasionally to peel away the paper.  If the paper slips, place a damp dishtowel under the parchment paper.  Dust the dough slightly with flour and reposition the paper so you don't get any wrinkles.  Try to keep the rectangle shape nice and neat.

Slide the dough in the parchment sheets onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes, until the dough is very firm.  If you want to chill the dough faster, freeze for about 15 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners.  Combine the egg with the remaining one tablespoon ice water in a small bowl, and mix with a fork until blended.

Working with one sheet of dough at a time, arrange them on a work surface and peel away the top parchment.  Using a ruler and a small sharp knife or a pizza cutter, trim the dough sheets to 10 x 14-inch rectangles.  Cut each one into sixteen 2 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch rectangles.

Using a metal spatula, carefully lift 16 rectangles from the parchment and arrange them about one inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Fill a pastry bag with the jam, pipe a scant tablespoon down the center of each rectangle and spread the jam to about 1/2 inch from the edge of each rectangle (you can use a spoon instead of the pastry bag).  Brush the borders with the beaten egg.

Carefully place the remaining rectangles over the jam and gently press out all the air.  If you want perfect looking pop tarts, use a small knife to trim off any uneven edges.  Using the tines of a fork, crimp the edges to seal.  Cover the tarts with plastic wrap and slide the baking sheets back into the refrigerator for one to two hours or freeze again for 30 minutes to one hour, until the dough is very firm.  Cover and refrigerate the remaining egg mixture.

Position the racks in the upper middle and lower middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a small knife, cut three small 1/2-inch slits in the top of each pop tart, brush with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.  Bake for 35 minutes (or 23 minutes if using a convection oven) until the bottoms are golden brown.

Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool.  Store the tarts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days and reheat in a toaster.

The filled pop tarts can be frozen before baking for up to one month.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking as directed.

Try different fillings:
Nutella and banana mixed together
Fresh fruit gently cooked, with a bit of sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice, until the fruit breaks down and releases its liquid (about 45 minutes).  Purée in a food processor or blender for a smooth mixture.

No comments:

Post a Comment