Taylor gets the most random food cravings. I do too, I guess, but my cravings are usually for elaborate sweet and salty baked goods. His, on the other hand, usually involve nostalgic junk foods from his childhood. Things like Lunchables, orange Tang, and, most recently, strawberry Pop Tarts.
I usually roll my eyes and tell him to go eat a granola bar, but in this case, I told him that I could totally make a homemade version that would blow his beloved pop tarts out of the water. Not something that is exactly hard to do, considering. Needless to say he was excited as the prospect (because, he admitted, the box he bought on a whim didn’t quite live up to his childhood expectations).
The pastry itself makes all the difference. Instead of the cardboard-like crust or whatever those things are made of (necessitated, at least, by the need for the snacks to hold up in a pop-up toaster). And granted these homemade versions should probably not be cooked in such a manner. But a simple butter and egg pastry, sturdier than a pie crust but still tender and flaky, makes this homemade version not only edible but truly enjoyable.
For filling I used the last remaining jar of last year’s Strawberry Hibiscus Jam, but you could use any flavor jam you like, or even whip up a copycat brown sugar filling (the only kind of pop tart that was worth eating, in my opinion).
I used a ravioli cutter to seal and crimp the edges of each pastry, but a fork will work just as well (probably better actually, since it won’t cut off any more dough around the edges). Be sure to cut a few vents in your pastries too, before baking, to allow the steam to escape. Otherwise it’ll find other means to get out, probably leaking filling out of your pastries in one way or another.
Oh yes, the mess potential of this recipe is off the charts, and I love it.
As he scrubbed the splattered sugar glaze off the counter, Taylor declared he was going to start an instagram account to document my messes. “It’ll be @loveandoliveoilsmesses” he said, not realizing that screen name was obviously too long to work. (And no, he didn’t actually do it. As far as I know, at least, although there would be no shortage of content).
I told him he knew exactly what he was getting when he married me. It’s not like I was neat then, either. I was born this way and will probably die with frosting in my hair and flour on my shirt. Not a bad way to go, actually.
Speaking of messes, I had a few casualties in this process, when I lazily tried to rotate the two baking sheets without properly supporting them. It slipped and crashed down on the pan underneath it, and, well, I lost a few pastries in the process. Bad words were said, tears were shed, and then we promptly ate the squished ones. Quality control, I say.
Strawberry Jam Toaster Pastries (Homemade Pop Tarts)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup fruit preserves, or other filling as desired
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
- 2 tablespoons milk, or as needed
- pink food coloring, optional
- coarse decorating sugar, optional
- In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Using a fork or pastry blender, work in the butter until butter forms pea-sized crumbles. Whisk together egg and milk; stir into flour mixture with a fork until dough just comes together. Divide in half and shape into discs; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften 10 to 15 minutes or until workable. Roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangle about 1/8″ thick and 9-by-12-inches in size. Using a ruler and a rotary or pizza cutter, cut into nine 3-by-4-inch rectangles. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Beat the egg white with a splash water, and brush it around the edges of each rectangle. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each.
- Roll and cut the second piece of dough just as you did the first. Top each filled pastry with a second rectangle of dough, using your fingertips to press firmly around all sides. Press and crimp edges with a fork or a ravioli cutter to seal.
- Prick the top of each tart with a fork or make a few small slices with a pairing knife to allow the steam to escape when baking. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, then bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
- To prepare glaze, sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Whisk strawberry jam with milk, then stir into sugar until it just flows off a spoon. Spread or drizzle onto cooled pastries. Sprinkle immediately with decorative sugar, if desired.