I’ve mentioned on here before that once a month I attend a meet up with a group of other food bloggers at fellow blogger and author of Creative Culinary, Barb Kiebel's home. We usually spend the better part of an hour visiting with each other before we talk about how to make our blogs just a little bit better, and hopefully it shows.
During our hour of visiting we also share the snacks that everyone brings. I’m not just saying this to butter up my fellow bloggers, but there are usually some great tasting and beautiful looking treats on this table which really ups the ante for each of us every month.
Feeling uninspired this month I was really struggling as to what I was going to bring, so I did what I often do and searched Google for ideas. After about 10 minutes of searching I found a recipe for homemade pop tarts on Smitten Kitchen’s site. It fit my criteria of being quick and relatively easy and I had all of the ingredients so I quickly pulled everything together and started baking.
Not just kid food, these tarts are a wonderful adult treat too.
I’m here to tell you that these little tarts are pretty close to heaven and even at that, this is an understatement. The crust is sweet, buttery, flaky and tender. I deviated from SK's recipe just a bit by opting to fill mine with my own blueberry jam that I quickly mixed up from a huge Costco container of berries that I had in the fridge. If you have some fresh fruit around, don’t be intimidated by making your own jam. It is really easier than you think. Finally, as if they could get any better, I drizzled them with just a little bit of icing.
I often brag here about how good each of my recipes are, but this is one that I can’t encourage you enough to try. If you want to make something really fun and special this is the recipe.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks, oh yeah, you read right) cold butter, cut into small cubes
2 eggs, divided and beaten
2 tablespoons milk
Place flour, salt, sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor; process until the mixture looks like cornmeal (this can also be done with a pastry blender in a large bowl as well). Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add one egg and milk. Mix well. Divide in half. Form into two rectangular blocks about 1” thick; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. The dough can also be refrigerated like this for up to two days but once you are ready to use it remove it from the fridge and let it warm to room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling.
Remove blocks from the refrigerator, unwrap and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/8” thick; using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, trim dough to measure 9 x 12”. Cut each piece of dough into thirds making nine pieces that measure 3 x 4”, repeat with the other piece of dough. With the blunt end of a skewer poke vent holes in the top to let the steam escape. I made mini pop tarts by using a 3” square cookie cutter which yielded about 22 little pop tarts. I opted to reroll my pastry scraps amd make additional mini pop tarts from them. While I prefer the smaller bites, they are certainly more time consuming than the larger ones.
Brush 1/2 of the rectangles with the remaining beaten egg (these will become the bottoms of the tarts). Spoon one heaping tablespoon (or one teaspoon for the mini pop tarts) of your desired filling into the center of the bottoms, gently smooth filling out from the center leaving a 1/2" border all the way around. Place one piece of pastry with the vent holes on top, pressing the edges with your fingers to seal. For a finishing touch press the edges with the tines of a fork. Transfer tarts to a non-stick baking dish, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake pop tarts in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes or until they are a light brown. Remove and drizzle with icing if desired. Cool for approximately 10 minutes before eating being careful as filling might be hot.
If you would rather use store bought jam, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water, add this to 3/4 cup jam and stir well before spooning onto the center of the dough.
Quick Blueberry Refrigerator Jam
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 - 2" sprig fresh rosemary
Place all ingredients in heavy bottom sauce pan set over a medium high heat. Stir well to bruise the blueberries and release their juices to dissolve the sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the mixture is thick, this may take up to 25 minutes. When the jam is almost done, add the rosemary sprig and cook for 5 minutes before removing.
To determine whether the jam is ready or not, place a small plate in the freezer to chill. Remove from the freezer and drop a dot (about 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon) in the center. The jam is done when you drag your finger through the center of the dot the two sides will stay separate and have a thick profile instead of running back together. This will give you some idea of the consistency it will have when it is cooled. You really want this to be pretty thick so it isn’t runny when you bake your pop tarts.
This may make a bit more than you need but all the better since you’ll have some to use later on toast. Just keep any leftovers sealed and in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 – 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place sugar in a small bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the milk and the vanilla. Stir until smooth, adding small amounts of the remaining milk until the mixture reaches the consistency of heavy cream. Drizzle or spread on top of the warm pop tarts.