Monday, February 27, 2017

Homemade Strawberry Pop-Tarts


Back in the 1990s, Pop-Tarts were every kid's favorite breakfast / snack. You were considered "cool" if you brought one of those shiny foil packets with the two frosted, sugary-filled pastries to school.

My mom refused to buy me Pop-Tarts. She was too busy making sure I actually ate healthy meals with nutritional value (oh, the horror). Actually, one time she did buy Pop-Tarts, but she bought them without the frosting. She said that's just how they make them now. They tasted horrible without the frosting, of course, because the Pop-Tart's pastry crust really isn't very good unless it's covered in sugar.

Recently I decided to make my own version of strawberry pop-tarts with a more flavorful crust and filling. If you think about it, strawberry pop-tarts are really just hand pies with preserves inside instead of pie filling. 

I started the pop-tarts with my mom's pie crust recipe. It's flaky and buttery and really simple to make. The recipe actually calls for all of the ingredients to be combined in a food processor which is a lot easier than using a pastry cutter or your hands. I highly recommend using a good quality butter like Challenge butter for maximum flavor. It's made with real cream and without artificial flavors or coloring. 

If you're short on time or just don't feel confident making your own pie crust, don't fret! You can always buy a refrigerated store bought crust.



For the filling, I used some leftover strawberry preserves that I still had from strawberry season last year. You can absolutely use store-bought strawberry preserves instead. Just make sure you choose a brand that is low in sugar -- there's going to be enough sugar in the frosting.

The frosting recipe took me a little while to figure out. You should be able to spread it, but it needs to be thick enough to harden. I found the perfect ratio to be 1 tablespoon milk for 1 cup powdered sugar. If it's too thick for you, whisk in about 1/2 teaspoon of milk. If it's too thin, add 1/8 cup powdered sugar. It's best to only add a little at a time. Also, I recommend testing it on a corner of one of your pop-tarts first and making sure it will set before frosting all of them.

I realize this seems like a long process for something you can buy at the grocery store for $2.99, but I promise all of the steps are very easy. Plus, these homemade pop-tarts taste infinitely better than the store-bought ones.



Homemade Strawberry Pop-Tarts
Yield: Makes about 8 StrawberryPop-Tarts
Ingredients
For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 5 Tablespoon Challenge butter, cold and cut up
  • 1/4 cup shortening, cold and cut up
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoon ice cold water
*Or 1 box refrigerated pie crust, using both rolls inside box

For the filling
  • Egg wash (egg + 2 Tablespoons milk)
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
For the glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
Directions
For the crust
  • Add flour, butter, shortening and salt to food processor. Pulse in 3-second intervals until combined. Mixture will appear like sand.
  • Add in water and pulse again--just until the dough starts to get crumbly and stick together.
  • Dump the dough into a bowl and form it into a ball with your hands.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out dough so it's about 1/8 inch thick. Use a knife to trim the edges of the dough so it looks like a rectangle.
  • Cut 16 equal-sized rectangles into the dough.
For the filling
  • Brush each rectangle lightly with egg wash.
  • Add a Tablespoon of strawberry preserves to the center of half of the rectangles and spread, leaving 1/2 inch from edges.
  • Place another rectangle on top (egg wash side down) and seal the edges with your fingers.
  • Use a fork to crimp and seal the edges and gently poke the top with a fork a few times to allow the steam to escape.
  • Refrigerate the pop-tarts for about 20 minutes and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove from refrigerator, brush with egg wash, and bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until golden brown.
For the glaze
  • Whisk to combine powdered sugar and milk, glaze should be very thick but still spreadable.
  • Decorate cooled pop-tarts with glaze and sprinkles.
  • Store pastries in air tight container for up to one week.
*If using refrigerated pie crust, skip to the part in directions that requires you to shape pie dough into rectangle.





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