I don’t know where to begin. My husband was going to be out this evening so I decided dinner would be breakfast. Instead of turkey chili, the girls and I would be having bacon and eggs. Then I picked up the Los Angeles Times this morning and glanced at the Food Section and couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful homemade pop tarts they had a picture of. I didn’t have time to read Amy Scattergood’s article, though it looks like she gave credit to Kellogg’s for inventing the wonderful little pastry. Instead, I thought it couldn’t be coincidence that it was Thursday, I needed a recipe, and we were having breakfast for dinner. Wouldn’t it stand to reason pop tarts would be a nice addition?
I took a look at the recipe and it read a lot like many of these L.A. Times bakery item recipes read: long and complicated. I realize that chefs consider there to be a perfect and correct way to make their food. I respect that. It’s the reason I’ve never before attempted anything they’ve suggested, no matter how good it looked in the pictures. Honestly, I just don’t have the time.
You’ll thank me for taking what looks to be a nearly thousand word recipe and simplifying it for you. I omit talk about what the butter pieces in the dough should look like at three different times during the process. I’m also going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you might know more than the L.A. Times thinks you know about quadrilaterals.
Without further ado:
Homemade pop tarts
Total time: 2 hours (but you can do other things while you’re chilling dough and baking)
Yields 8 pop tarts
1 ¾ sticks butter
½ cup cold water
1 ¾ cups flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg yolk, and 1 egg for egg wash
½ tsp. cider vinegar
preserves for filling (I used raspberry from TJ’s and my friend Erich’s tangerine marmalade)
Cube the butter and stick it in the freezer for a half-hour. Put the water in the freezer for a half-hour also.
In a food processor (I used a blender), mix the flour, sugar and salt so it’s well combined. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and vinegar.
Take the butter out of the freezer and toss it in with the flour. Pulse mix it to blend. You’ll still be able to see chunks of the butter (or not). Either way, it’s okay. Add the water from the freezer to the yolk/cider and toss it all in with the flour/butter. Pulse mix it again to form the dough.
Lay two pieces of plastic wrap on a flat surface, overlapping each other, and dump the dough onto it. Fold it up in the plastic wrap and knead just a bit before flattening it out to form a rectangle, about 8×6 inches. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. (I took Bun Bun to soccer practice.)
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it in half. On a generously floured surface, roll out the dough to form two 9×12 inch rectangles. This part is important because you want to have two identical rectangles. Use a ruler. Use a pizza cutter. Get sharp corners and straight edges. Be proud of your rectangles! Using the ruler, cut each 9×12” rectangle in half lengthwise, then widthwise. Now cut those rectangles in half so you have 16 – count ‘em – 16 rectangles. Got that?
Using an egg whisked for a “wash” and a pastry or paint brush, brush 8 of the rectangles, making sure you get the edges. Place a heaping tablespoon of your filling in the middle of the egg brushed rectangles and spread it gently, leaving ½” space between the filling and the edges. Place an unbrushed pastry rectangle on top of each of these. Using the tines of a fork, crimp down the edges of the pop tarts. Poke the top of the pop tarts with the fork twice to let out the steam when they bake.
Place parchment paper on cooking sheets and transfer the pop tarts to them. Preheat the oven to 375º. Put the cooking sheets with pop tarts in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove from freezer and brush the egg wash over each pop tart before putting in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastries are golden. Let cool on a rack.
I am so damn proud of what I accomplished today in the kitchen. Miss T helped by reading the instructions to me as I measured my rectangles and so I thank her. She and her sisters helped me eat them after they’d cooled and I’m pretty sure we’ll never buy a Kellogg’s Pop-Tart again. These were absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing. Check out my picture and compare it to the one in the Los Angeles Times. They look exactly the same! (Well, almost.)
Recipes, Thursdays in the kitchen with Jo