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Pop-Tarts: A homemade how-to

Posted by: Rick Nelson under Baking, Cookbooks Updated: April 25, 2012 - 3:24 PM

 

 

In my Q&A with "The Homemade Pantry" author Alana Chernila, she discusses the story behind the irresistible-sounding Pop-Tarts (pictured, above, in a photo from the book, by Jennifer May) she devised for her two young daughters. Here's the recipe:

TOASTER PASTRIES

Makes 6 pastries.

Note: Fill with jam, Nutella or a mixture of 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar. Store pastries in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and reheat in a toaster, or in a 375-degree oven for 5 minutes. Freeze unbaked in single layers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and transfer to a freezer-safe container with layers of parchment paper; bake, as directed, when ready to serve. From “The Homemade Pantry” by Alana Chernila.

For dough:

• 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

• 2 1/4 c. flour, plus extra for rolling dough

• 1/3 c. water

• 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

• 1/2 tsp. salt

For pastries:

• 1 egg

• 1 tbsp. water

• 6 tbsp. filling (see Note)

• Powdered sugar or frosting (see recipe, below), for garnish

Directions

To prepare dough: Cut butter into 1/2-inch squares and combine with flour in bowl of a stand mixer. Using your hands, toss mixture to coat butter in flour. Place bowl in freezer. In a measuring cup, combine water, vinegar and salt and stir until salt dissolves. Place cup in freezer. Freeze both mixtures for 10 minutes. Take mixing bowl out of freezer and, using paddle attachment, blend on low speed until mixture starts to resemble texture of crumbly meal. Take measuring cup out of freezer and slowly pour liquid into flour-butter mixture. Dough will be crumbly at first; stop mixer when dough comes together into a ball, about 10 to 20 seconds. Turn dough out onto counter and press it into a large disc. Cut dough into 2 equal parts, wrap each piece in waxed paper and press into a disc. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to 2 days.

To prepare pastries: When ready to roll dough, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Remove dough from refrigerator and let rest on counter for 15 minutes. Unwrap a disc and roll into a 9x12-inch rectangle, cutting away any errant edges with a sharp knife. Cut rectangle into 6 smaller rectangles. Gently separate rectangles from work surface and lay them on prepared baking sheet with at least 2 inches between them. Using a pastry brush, paint each rectangle with beaten egg. Scoop 1 tablespoon of filling into each rectangle in a thin line down the center. Roll out second disc of pie pastry, repeating steps to create six rectangles. Lay new batch of rectangles over filled rectangles and seal by pressing a fork around the perimeter of each rectangle. Using a pastry brush, paint tops of each pastry with egg wash and poke several times with a fork. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes, rotating baking sheet once during baking. Remove from oven, cool for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar (or ice with frosting, see recipe, below) before serving.

BEST FROSTING

Makes about 11/2 cups.

Note: Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week. Freeze in a covered container for up to 6 months. Adapted from “The Homemade Pantry.”

• 1/2 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature

• 6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and on medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until well-combined. Add powdered sugar in 2 tablespoon increments, tasting after each addition. When you have reached your desired sweetness, add salt and vanilla extract and continue beating until frosting is thick and smooth.

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