Do you ever remember a favorite food from your childhood that you have in your adult years, and you are just beyond disappointed in the product? Pop tarts now, have gravely fallen from the once high status they had held, at least in my books. Maybe it’s because I married The Chef and he has opened up my eyes to homemade vs. store bought, or pop tarts have changed their recipe and put more artificial flavors, preservatives and what not into their little pockets of …”stuff”.
But these…. Theeeese little babies make pop tarts cry in their aluminum sleeping bags because they have found an eternal darkness in this household.
Try them out and plop them in front of your precious cherubs and see what they say.
You just might get a “mommy of the year award”. I mean, I’d vote for you.
Let’s start with the crust shall we? The buttery, slightly sweet, perfectly crumbly crust. It’s a cinch to whip up.
Would I do it if it wasn’t??
2 1/2 cups of AP flour
3 Tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2-1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup (or a little less) cold water
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixer. Add in the butter and vanilla until it’s completely incorporated and the dough is little pea size crumbles. Slowly add in water. You might need to mix/ knead by hand. It’s a pretty stiff dough for some mixers.
Wrap as a ball in Saran Wrap and chill for a few minutes, just so it can firm up just a tad.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a floured surface, (or a pastry cloth) roll dough out to 1/4″ thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut to desired size. Mine was about 2″x 3″ or so. I had some bigger, smaller, square shaped etc. It doesn’t make a huge difference beside baking. If you have some huge ones and some super small ones, baking time might vary, so you’d want to bake the same sizes together.
That makes sense right?
Carefully lay the pieces on a sil-pat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet, laying the less floured side up. Spoon/ spread desired filling on (our strawberry filling recipe is below), being cautious as not to overfill. Place corresponding size on top of filling with the more floured side up this time (non-floury sides sandwiching the filling. That way no flour clouds up our seal). Take a small bowl of water and using your fingers, line the edges with a little water. This will help with the seal and hopefully preventing a spill out. Using either a fork or a ravioli cutter, press the two sides together. Once all the way around, use the tip of a sharp knife and make a design to let out steam while the pastries bake.
Pop them in the oven and bake for about 16 min or until slightly golden brown.
For the filling:
2 1/2 – 3 cups fresh cut strawberries.
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz. water
Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook down until mixtures becomes thick. This will take a bit. Give yourself about an hour. In blender, mash up the bigger chunks with the sauce. This make the mixture thicker.
I love the taste of the fresh strawberries. It’s sugary, yes, but not completely sickeningly sweet like pop tarts. It actually tastes like strawberries!
It’s not pictured, but I did try some with icing and it was sooooo delish. Use powdered sugar (1/2 cup) with about 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or milk) and a dash of vanilla. Add more cream or powdered sugar depending on how thick or thin you want it.
I’m not lying guys. I was dreaming about these for days.
And I may or may not be making a double bath of ’em right now.
You could try any jam that’s in your fridge too!
Could we just package these up and give this to our kids instead, because I completely missed out on these for too many years of my life.
But maybe my high-school sized me would’ve thanked me that I didn’t have these in my life.