Across the street from our apartment in SF there is a little convenience market that we visit often for various needs. Some eggs to cook for breakfast. Limes for homemade margaritas. A late night pint of ice cream. Front and center in this market there is a shelf of Pop-Tarts with just a few classic flavors, Strawberry, Cherry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon.
Now I’m not one to normally crave prepackaged treats, but seeing those bright blue boxes a few times a week set something off inside off inside of me. Call it nostalgia for a childhood treat or call it bad taste, but this summer I had a CRAVING for those Pop-Tarts. Every time I visited that little market it took more and more self-control to not purchase a little box of those flimsy, frosted, high-fructose corn syrup treats.
One night after a hard day at work I finally broke. I was going to eat a Pop-Tart that night, dammit, and I didn’t care who knew. After buying my little box of cherry frosted treasures, I raced home, tore upon both box and foil and gave into my weeks long craving. To no one’s surprise, dry, bland, boring and unsatisfying are the adjectives I would use to describe that experience. So like any good food blogger I threw away the rest of those cardboard rectangles, ran to the grocery store for ingredients and spent the rest of the night making these homemade Pop-Tarts.
Unlike their boxed counterparts, these Pop-Tarts are buttery, flaky, jam-packed and soul satisfying rectangles of summery goodness. The crust recipe is from one of my favorite bakers, Joanne Chang, who uses egg yolks in her dough. I find that this makes the crust rich and hearty and less likely to fall apart while you’re stuffing your face with the final product. And the filling is a delicious, perfectly sweet jam made from fresh (or frozen) summer berries with a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavors and help thicken the jam. Finally these buttery envelopes of fruity goodness are topped with a homemade glaze, colored, if you like with some reserved sauce from the berries. Craving satisfied!
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add flour, 1 tbsp sugar and salt and mix on low speed for 10 seconds to combine. Scatter the butter over the top of the mixture and mix on low speed until the butter has been broken down into smaller, pea sized chunks.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup whisk together eggs yolks and milk until well combined. Add to flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together.
- Divide the dough into two equal lumps and with each gather the dough together and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Shape dough into 1 inch disks and chill in refrigerator for at least two hours or up to 4 days.
- Place a small plate in the freezer. You'll use this later to quickly test if the jam has jelled or not.
- In a medium pot or pan add berries, 1 cup of sugar and juice of one lemon. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until mixture has thickened and the juices thickly coat the back of a spoon. To test this, scoop a small amount of jam onto the plate you've stored in the freezer and put back in the freezer for a minute or two. Push on the cooled jam with your finger and if it bunches up then it's ready! Otherwise keep cooking, testing every 5 minutes or so. Let cool completely. (You can speed this up in the freezer).
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove half of your dough from the refrigerator and press into a rectangle. On a floured surface roll your dough out into a rectangle until the dough is fairly thin, no thicker than an ⅛ of an inch thick. From your dough cut out as many 3 by 4.5 inch rectangles (or similar sized) as you can. I like to use an index card as a guide. Move cut rectangles and any dough scraps to the freezer to chill. Repeat with your second disk of dough. Roll out your combined scraps only once. I usually get 3-4 more rectangles from this dough. When you're finished you should have about 16 rectangles to work with to make 8 pop-tarts.
- Evenly space 8 rectangles on your prepared baking sheet and spoon 1 heaping tbsp of filling in the center. Make sure to leave a ¼ inch border around the edge. Gently top the rectangles with their remaining halves and seal the edges by crimping with a fork. Poke a few holes on the tops of each rectangle with a fork or toothpick.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. Let cool completely.
- In a bowl whisk together powdered sugar, 3 tbsp milk and if desired, 2-3 tsp's of reserved juices from the berry jam for color. The consistency should be thick like molasses. If too thin, add more powdered sugar, and if too thick, thin with milk. Glaze your cooled pop tarts by spooning globs of glaze over the tops. Let the glaze dry for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!