Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cherry Pop-Tarts

Homemade cherry pop-tart!

Pop-tarts are a treat that brings back memories from childhood. We used to get the strawberry (no icing) and brown sugar varieties. There was also the occasional cherry and grape. Does anyone remember grape pop-tarts? I have heard and read that they discontinued the grape pop-tart a while back. Apparently Kellogg has added a wild grape flavor to replace the old grape. Did they think "wild" grape would be more appealing?

Rolled out dough (homemade too, of course).

Of course if you consumed pop-tarts you also probably ate a toaster streudel at one point too. Toaster streudels were far superior to the pop-tart - with their flaky crust and warm icing. The fruit filling even resembled actual fruit (well sort of). You could even draw sweet pictures with the icing packets. But I don't think Toaster streudels could ever compete with the plethora of flavoring offerings for pop-tarts. Have you seen some of the new flavors? Hot fudge sundae, really? I mean kids could pretend a strawberry pop-tart was an acceptable breakfast, but ice cream in a pastry pocket form? I don't think so.

Just a spoonful (or two) of cherry jam.

But regardless of their nutritional value, pop-tarts will always have a nostalgic place in my heart. And pastry chefs across the country realize the nostalgic power of the pop-tart, putting their own versions on dessert menus. I ate a rather fine pop-tart at Tremont 647 in Boston a couple years ago.

Baking in the oven at 425 F. I could barely contain my excitement!

I have been meaning to create my own gourmet spin on the pop-tart, but didn't get around to it until NOW. Cherries have been on my mind for a couple weeks, and with a fresh supply from the farmer's market I knew I wanted to create a cherry pop-tart. Their are three key ingredients to making your own pop-tart: 1)pie crust 2)jam 3)icing.

Now I made my own pie crust, jam, and icing cuz that's how I do. My mother created this "everything from scratch" mentality, so you can thank her for that. :) Luckily I had some pie crust in the freezer, so it didn't take me ages. If you want to make your own dough from scratch I would make it the night before. Make the jam two nights before, that way you won't feel like you've spent 6 hours making pop-tarts.

Beautiful pockets of goodness.

The "jam" I made came together in a cinch. I chopped up three cups of cherries, threw them in a pot with 1/4 cup of sugar, juice from one lime, and lime zest. I cooked it on medium low for 40 minutes or so. You want to make sure the excess water boils off, so that the mixture is thick and chunky. This was more of a "quick" jam.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. While the jam cools off you can start rolling out your pie dough. Roll the dough out really thin - 1/8 in or so. I cut the dough into rectangles that were about 4 x 3 in (some looked more like 5x2). Put the dough back in the fridge for 15 minutes before you fill them.

Pink frosting what could be sweeter?

Once the jam has cooled, spoon on a couple tablespoons. You don't want to overfull the pockets, as they will burst open in the oven. Place a second rectangle on top. Using a fork, press the sides together to form a seal. Using the fork, poke a couple holes in the top of the pop-tart to allow some steam to escape during baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Mine needed about 12 minutes.

Make the icing using 1 cup confectioner's sugar and 1 teaspoon milk. I used part of it to drizzle over half of the pop-tarts. Then I added four drops of red dye to make pink icing for the second half.

This Googler approves!

These pop-tarts were flaky and butter. The cherry jam filling was tart and sweet. The icing made them visually stunning and added the right amount of sweetness to counter the buttery pastry and tart filling. These were a hit! They might be one of the best things I have baked. These would be wonderful to serve at a brunch, people will love you for it.

Verdict: Three JAMS!


Malia said...

Make these for me clown! ;) I love it! Mom and I were just talking about Grape pop tarts and debating whether the little store had any left from a potential stockpile they bought in 1980? Haha.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Mmmmm that crust looks delicious!