May 30, 2013
Because it is Fun
I've never actually eaten a pop tart. The trademarked toaster pastries that come packaged in shiny foil always looked dry and unappealing, but since I haven't eaten one I can't really say how good they are. While I may not have any interest in the mass produced version, how could I ignore a recipe for making them at home? Last year, when I finally picked up a copy of The Homemade Pantry, I was thrilled to have so many recipes for foods to make instead of buy. But I found the book really hard to resist with its photo of the irresistible looking pastries on the cover. Although I had never longed for toaster pastries before, now I had to make them.
I got to the pie crust first. The perfect flaky, buttery crust that will continue to be my favorite, go-to crust for some time, I'm sure. When I finally got to making the pastries, nearly a year later, I was partly inspired by a batch of homemade cream cheese (recipe coming soon!) which, mixed with a quick raspberry jam seemed like just the right filling for these sweet little pockets. I can assure you that the flaky pastry wrapped around a creamy fruit filling exceeded my long awaited expectations of this recipe.
There are all kinds of practical and logical reasons for making a homemade version of something usually mass produced. It tastes better, it is healthier, you can learn a new process and take part in the transformation that happens with cooking. Sometimes, though, it is best to set the practical reason aside and make a recipe because it is fun. Then, these toaster pastries are just the thing.
Adapted from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. The options for fillings are limited only by your ingredients and imagination. Jam, nutella, cinnamon sugar, ricotta and spinach, cheese and sauce are just a few ideas. I've included the quick raspberry jam recipe that I used. As you can see in the photos, my filling oozed out a little in the cooking process. I used a little more filling than the recipe calls for and may not have pinched the edges shut as tightly as necessary.
Quick Raspberry Jam
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
Place raspberries and sugar in a wide, shallow pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes until the raspberries and juice have thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.
Raspberry Cream Cheese Filling
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup cream cheese
Mix the cream cheese and jam together to completely combine.
For the Pastries:
1 Pie Crust Recipe
additional flour for the counter
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
6 tablespoons filling of your choice
If baking right away, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the pie crust dough into two pieces. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out one piece of dough into a 9x12 inch rectangle, about 1/8 of an inch thick or a little thicker. Cut the rectangle into 6 equal pieces and place each one on the baking sheet. Repeat with the second half of the dough, taking care to make your six rectangles the same size and shape as the previous six. Brush each of the rectangles on the baking sheet with the beaten egg. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the middle of the six rectangles. Carefully lay another rectangle of dough on top of each one with filling. Carefully seal the edges by pressing them with the tines of a fork. Paint the top of each pastry with the beaten egg and poke several holes in them with the fork.
Now, you can freeze the pastries on the baking sheet and move to an airtight container when frozen solid. Or you can immediately bake the pastries for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before they are ready to serve.