I’m not even sure where to start. I’m [almost] speechless, which is nearly impossible when it comes to baking, as I’m sure you’re all well aware by now. Yes, I’m that happy with this recipe! But for the sake of the blogosphere, I’ll try to come up with something…
This was a new venture for me, and it was completely on a whim. Pastry has been on my baking to-do list for quite some time, but I never actually brought myself to do it mainly out of fear. Until now. I’m not sure what made me try it. My inner baking diva must have emerged from her Sunday slumber to wake up my brain, silence my nerves, and get me in the kitchen! I love her, she’s so good to me.
Pop-Tarts were never really a staple in my diet. As a kid, I was allowed to have them as an afternoon snack every once in awhile, which I suppose made them more special. Same thing goes for sugary cereals – Trix in particular. But that’s a whole other discussion. Anyway, brown sugar-cinnamon sans frosting was, and always has been, my absolute favorite. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and the smell of one bronzing in the toaster is heavenly. The nostalgia attached to the Pop-Tart is half the fun when it comes to this “breakfast” item. Not only does the packaged pastry remind me of Fall, but it takes me back to elementary school, when my biggest concern was what the cafeteria was serving that day. Ahh, those were the days.
But those care-free days are long behind us, and I think it’s time to put the toaster on the back burner for a bit, put the Kellogg box back on the shelf, and indulge in some REAL toaster pastries.
I really don’t want to call these “pop-tarts.” That sounds so…mediocre. They don’t even deserve “toaster pastry,” either, considering they never even touched my toaster. That would be flat-out insulting to these little things of beauty. But what on Earth to call them?
…for now, let’s just call them “fan-freaking-tastic ‘toaster’ tarts.” Okay so it’s not the catchiest name, but it’s honest. And besides, I’m too busy taking gigantic bite after gigantic bite to be telling people the name anyway.
This recipe is from King Arthur Flour. I’ve contemplated buying the All-Purpose Baking Cookbook for a while, and this recipe has completely convinced me. It’s ordered and should be here in a few days, so expect a lot more recipes from these guys. 🙂
Now let me tell you about the results of the recipe. THE DOUGH IS SO GOOD. It came out perfectly golden brown and flaky, and completely exceeded my expectations as a pastry chef-virgin. I will be making these again. And again. And again…
The only and I mean only thing I would change about this recipe is the amount of filling it says to use for each pastry. Even though I used more than was recommended, I would still use more. But that’s at your own discretion. The recipe yields 9 pastries but I voted on slightly bigger ones and just made 8.
Unfortunately (for everyone else, that is), I was the only one home when these came out of the oven. I was literally standing at my counter with a warm, oozing pastry in my hand saying “OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD,” while my cat looked at me like I was some kind of circus freak. But who is she to judge? She chases her own tail.
Tasty Toaster Tarts (aka Fan-freaking-tastic “Toaster” Tarts)
adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbsp milk (I used soy milk because that’s all I had on hand.)
1 egg (for egg wash)
Brown Sugar Cinnamon:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1. Whisk together.
Strawberry (or any other jam flavor):
3/4 cup strawberry jam
1 tbsp cornstarch (If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use flour, just double the amount.)
1 tbsp water
1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Bring mixture to a boil, and let simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring often.
3. Set aside and let cool.
Making the crust:
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.
2. With a fork or your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until combined. The result should look crumby and pea-sized. Some butter lumps will be visible.
3. Combine the egg and milk in a separate small bowl, and then add that mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
4. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or a maximum of 2 days.
5. After the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and let it set to a little cooler than room temperature (a workable consistency).
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece into a 9 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle. Trim edges to make a 9×12 rectangle.
7. With a sharp knife or pastry cutter, slice dough into 8 3×4″ rectangles. Transfer dough to a prepared baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
8. Beat the egg, and brush each piece with the wash.
9. Spoon about a tbsp (or more) of filling onto each piece, leaving room (about a 1/2″) around the edges.
10. Follow steps 6 and 7 for the second half of the chilled dough.
11. Place each rectangle of dough on a filling-topped piece. Seal the edges with your fingers.
12. Use a fork to seal the edges again, and poke various holes on the top to let steam out while the pastry is baking. (I don’t think I made my holes deep enough because they puffed up quite a bit.)
13. Refrigerate (again) for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put a rack in the middle slot.
14. Bake tarts for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
I know, it’s kind of time-consuming. But just trust me when I say that the first bite of that warm pastry will make all the effort worth it.
See the flakiness?! I love the flakiness.
Hmm, I guess I had more to say than I thought I did.
Thanks for reading!