Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Homemade Blackberry Pop-Tarts

Let me start by saying that if you're looking for a healthier alternative to store-bought Pop-Tarts, these are not the breakfast pastries you seek. While they don't have any preservatives or fake sugars, they do have butter...lots of butter. If you are, however, looking for a toaster pastry that is infinitely tastier and more rewarding, then look no further. 

I really have no excuse for buying a toaster pastry press...which I guess is a fancy way to say "square cookie cutter" because that's really all this is.  I bought this while Williams Sonoma was having a sale, so I figured $6.95 wasn't too much of a splurge if it meant finally having a go at recreating one of my favorite breakfast treats (can I get a shout out for Brown Sugar Cinnamon?).

You could absolutely make these with any square cutter that you have, or even just a knife and a lot of patience. Where the press did come in handy however, was helping to seal down the edges of the pastry more than you could have with finger or fork crimping alone. But, as I've mentioned before, I'm realizing that with hand pies, leaks are simply a way of life if you want to have a decent amount of filling in your pastry. And, not to be out done by the Apple Butter Hand Pies, these toaster pastries were no different, so be sure to line your baking sheet with foil or parchment for easy clean up.

A couple of notes: As for filling, frosting and decorations, you're limited only by your imagination. I went with a simple blackberry jam because it's my favorite, and a confectioners'-sugar-and-milk frosting because it was quick and easy, but the possibilities are endless.

Homemade Pop-Tarts
     from Williams Sonoma, makes 8
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" dice
6-8 Tablespoons ice water

1/2 cup fruit preserves or jam

1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 Tablespoons milk

1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses.

2. Add 6 Tablespoons of the ice water and pulse 2-3 times. The dough should stick together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition.

3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 dough disk into a rectangle 1/8" thick. (If using a toaster pastry press) use the outer ring of the mold to cut shapes out of the dough. Spread 1 Tablespoon of preserves onto each of 4 pieces of dough, leaving a 1/2" border. Brush the edges with the egg mixture.

5. Top each with a plain piece of dough and (if using) replace the inner ring of the mold inside the outer ring, place the mold on top of the pastry, and press the inner ring down to seal the edges. Transfer the pastries to a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough disk and preserves.

6. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Bake the pastries until golden, about 25 minutes, reversing the positions of the baking sheets halfway through. Let pastries cool on the sheets for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. For the icing: in a bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar and milk. Frost and decorate as desired.

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