Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homemade Pop-Tarts

I already know that I'm going to get some slack for making homemade pop tarts and I know that many most of you think I'm crazy for even attempting to create a homemade version of this snack.  It's no secret that I am not a fan of boxed pop tarts so why did I want to make them at home?  Over the past couple of months, I've run across at least 3 different recipes for homemade Pop Tarts and it that was enough to peak my curiosity.  I was convinced that I could improve upon the supermarket varieties that are available today. 

The Pop Tart recipe that I finally decided to use came out of my Flour cookbook.  To start, the recipe calls for a Pate Brisee dough.  It must be made in advance and refrigerated for at least 4 hours before making the Pop Tarts so plan your time accordingly.

Pate Brisee
1 3/4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons cold milk

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar and salt for 10 seconds.  Scatter butter over the top and mix on low for 1 minutes.  (or until the flour is clumped together the size of pecans.)

Whisk together egg yolks and milk.

Add to the flour mixture and mix on low for 20 seconds.  Dump dough out onto unfloured counter.

Gather dough into a ball and using the palm of your hand, smear the dough by pushing down on it with your hand.  Continue to do this until most of the butter chunks are smeared into streaks throughout the dough.  (My daughter got some great action shots of me "smearing" my Pate Brisee.)

It will seem unusual at first to "smear" your dough but it does produce a nice flaky dough that you can use for all kinds of different recipes.

Gather up the dough and flatten into a 1" disk.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  (It will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 1 month in the freezer.)

Now onto the fillings.  I made 2 different kinds - raspberry filled with vanilla glaze and chocolate filled with chocolate glaze.   (I wanted my Pop Tarts to be a dessert and NOT an entree.) 

Raspberry Filling 
1 cup raspberry jam

Vanilla Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons water

Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

Chocolate Filling
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream (I substituted 1/2 &1/2 because the cream that I had in the refrigerator had spoiled.)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, melt chocolate over a pan of simmering water.
In saucepan, combine butter, cream and sugar.
Cook over low heat until butter melts.
Remove from heat and add to the melted chocolate.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm enough to spoon into pastry pockets.   (Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.)  I had to microwave my filling for 30 seconds in the microwave to soften it slightly.

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup water
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate melted and cooled

Whisk together ingredients until smooth and pourable.

The glaze can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  I made the chocolate filling and both glazes ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator.  (I had to microwave mine for 10 seconds to soften it a little after taking it out of the refrigerator.)

Fast forward about 4 hours - Time to start making the Pop Tarts.

Pop Tarts
1 recipe Pate Brisee
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350.  Remove dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half.  

On a lightly floured surface, roll one half into a 14x11" rectangle.  

Using a knife, lightly score each rectangle into 12 squares. (The recipe suggested 8 rectangles.)

Spoon 1 Tablespoon of filling into each rectangle.


Roll out the other half of the dough to the same size on a silpat.   Brush the surface of the dough with egg.

Lay the second dough rectangle on top of the filled squares and use fingertips to press down around filling.

Use a pizza cutter to follow the scored lines on the squares.  

Place the squares on a silpat lined baking sheet and bake 40 minutes.  

According to the recipe we should have "Let the pastries cool for 30 minutes and then brushed the tops with glaze.  Let stand 15 minutes to allow the glaze to set."  Seriously???  I pulled them out of the oven, drizzled the glaze over the top and then we ate them.  (All within 2 minutes.)  

Despite our burned mouths, the Pop Tarts were well received. 

The fillings were warm and gooey and the dough was flaky and buttery.

My final analysis of the homemade pop tarts: They are way better than their supermarket counterparts.  They are a lot of work and I suspect that puff pastry dough would produce similar results with a LOT less work.  The Pate Brisee produced a nice light, flaky dough but it took a lot of time to prepare and chill the dough.  If your feeling adventurous and you want to tackle a new recipe - my recommendation for homemade Pop Tarts is to start with puff pastry sheets and fill and bake them according to my directions.

Bon Appetit!

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