Homemade pop tarts
I’m a bit late to the Valentine’s Day party, but I had to post a recipe that I think would be perfect if you actually wanted to celebrate the holiday and make breakfast in bed for your significant other / yourself / your friends. These fall under my category of baked goods that I only pull out once in a while because they are a little more time consuming, but also so utterly spectacular that you can’t spoil your friends by making them too often. They are for when you really want to impress someone.
The creator of this baked good of glory is Joanne Chang, one of my personal pastry chef idols who is extremely well known in the Boston food scene. Her bakery, Flour, and cookbook are utterly incredible. These treats are definitely a bit of a time investment (mainly the cutting of the dough), but you can create the tarts the night before, leave them in the fridge, and then just bake them the next day. They are definitely best when still a bit warm but of course taste amazing at room temperature too.
Let’s just say, if I had to pick a list of the top ten baked goods I’ve ever made in terms of the happiness effect that they have had on the recipients, this would definitely be on there. They. Are. Amazing. End of story. You must check them out.
Homemade pop tarts (from the amazing Flour cookbook by Joanne Chang, but the online recipe can be found here)
For the dough:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (245 grams)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces (2 sticks or 228 grams) – honestly I just used 200 grams of butter because that is easier, and because really, you won’t miss the extra 28 grams
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup raspberry jam (340 grams)
Simple Vanilla Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (140 grams)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 -3 tablespoons water
rainbow candy sprinkles, for sprinkling (optional)
First, make the dough, or pate brisee. You can use a stand mixer but per usual I just used my hands. Mix together flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Scatter all the butter over the top. Mix it all together until it starts to blend and clump together, 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 it until the dough just barely comes together. It will probably be pretty messy but that’s ok.
Dump it out onto a floured surface and gather it together. Using your palm and starting on one side of the mound, smear the dough by sliding your palm down the side until the butter chunks get incorporated into the dough. Do this all over the dough until everything is combined and the dough has come together (there may still be a few streaks of butter but there should be no more chunks). Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a thick disk. 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. I definitely do this the night before or even two nights before the day I want to actually serve the pop tarts.
To make the pop tarts, let the dough out of the fridge and divide it in half. Press each half into a rectangle (this can be quite tricky but stick with it). On a lightly floured surface, roll it out until it’s pretty thin (as in, less than half a cm) and use a knife to cut out small rectangles. They could be kind of big too but I like to make them smaller because the tarts are quite rich. Place half of the rectangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Coat the surfaces of all the rectangles with the egg, and then spoon a tablespoon of jam in a mound in the centre of each. Then lay down a second dough rectangle directly on top of the first. Using your fingertips, carefully press down all around each jam mound to create the completed pop tart. I like to do these individually as you will see from the below pictures – I would actually lay one out, brush with egg, put on jam, and then put on a second rectangle. This part is a bit time consuming but believe me the final product is worth it.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F, and bake for about 40 minutes. However, if they are smaller, they can take less than 30 minutes. Or if you have a weird fan forced oven they can be done in as little as 20-25 minutes, so check at 20 minutes for sure. They should be evenly golden brown on the top and the sides. Let them cool for about 10-15 minutes before putting on the glaze.
You can also make the glaze ahead of time – just combine all the ingredients and stir to make a smooth, pour-able glaze. If it’s too thick, add a dash more water, and if it’s too thin, add a bit more sugar. It can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. Once the pastries have cooled, spread it over the top (if they are warm it will just melt more but it’s really fine). Sprinkle with sprinkles if you have them, and then let them stand for about 10 minutes to allow the glaze to set. The pastries can be stored in an airtight container for several days, but they will not last longer than a day. I promise.
These really are the type of baked good that leaves you just a little bit speechless when you have your first bite. It’s the pastry that makes it so amazing – it’s buttery and flaky and with the extra sugary hit from the glaze on top and the tang from the raspberry jam in the centre it’s honestly heaven in your mouth. I can’t think of a better breakfast in bed gift. As they say in the original pop tart ad, serve with some fruit and eggs for a “healthy breakfast”. (Meaning the breakfast is healthy until you add the pop tart.) But whatever, I would eat these for breakfast/lunch/snacks every day if I had enough time to keep making them…
One year ago: Black bean chili