The genius of Pop Tarts is that Kellogg’s took a tried-and-true favorite — the jam tarts pie-baking mothers made for kids out of dough scraps — dressed them up with a new name, some new flavors and…presto: a big fat packed goods hit. The homemade version is better. All you need are some basic ingredients and the filling of your choice. Start by stirring the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle. You can do this by hand if you like, also.
Add the butter cubes and turn the mixer up to medium-high.
Beat the mixture until it looks like coarse meal, about four minutes, then add the cold ice water.
Turn the mixture back down to low and stir until a shaggy dough starts to come together. Mine was looking a little too dry, so I added another teaspoon of water and let it go around for a couple more turns.
There we go, just right.
I turned it out onto a lightly floured board…
..gave it a quick knead or two to smooth it out…
…then separated it out into two pieces. I patted the pieces into disks…
…then shaped the disks into rectangles.
Now then, for rolling you can go in one of two directions. You can roll it between two sheets of parchment if that gives you extra confidence.
It can be quite a handy technique. You just apply the pin like so.
Me I prefer a little flour and the naked board. Roll the sheet gently into a large rectangle, about the size of a sheet of parchment..or to about 16″ x 12″. Rough edges are fine. Those of you who are afraid of pie crust, fear not this step. As I often say, pie crust isn’t meant to be rolled when it’s hard as a rock. When it’s cool or warm it’s as tame as a kitten. Go on, pet it.
Slip your dough sheet off the board onto some parchment. Place another sheet on to cover, then roll the other piece of dough the same way. Put that sheet on your stack, cover with another piece of parchment and slide everything onto a refrigerator shelf to firm for a few minutes. Maybe 20-30 of them.
When the dough has firmed a little, flip/slide one sheet back onto the lightly floured board
Trim up the edges if you feel like it.
At this point you once again have two choices. You can either cut the sheet into pieces and build the tarts one by one, or you can start laying on the filling with the idea of applying another big sheet to the top, then simply cutting the tarts out.
I prefer the latter because I don’t have to be as exact with the cutting. I don’t need a ruler, I can just size up the sheet, decide how many tarts I think I can get out of it, and start plopping down the filling. Since I trimmed this one a little small, and want my tarts to be about the same size as the commercial ones (3″ x 4″ or so), I’m going to shoot for nine. So…nine dollops of jam. Any kind is fine as long as it’s reasonably thick. Know what else is good? Nutella.
Here I’m very embarrassed to say I forgot to include a step. After the filling you want to paint some egg wash around…along the edges and in stripes between the jam dollops…like a tic tac toe board. The reason, so when you apply the top sheet, the edges seal. What can I say? I was in a hurry and forgot to take a picture.
So…do that. Then lay on the top sheet. Sounds scary I know, but it isn’t. Try this and you’ll see.
Press along the soon-to-be edges of your tarts to seal them.
Trim the excess dough. You can re-roll all the scraps, by the way. Just be gentle, more working means tougher tarts.
Then cut them out. Oops…I could have cut a little straighter there. Oh well…that’s how people know they’re home made.
Seal each tart with a fork.
Place them on parchment-lined sheets, brush them with egg wash and set them in the refrigerator to relax for 1-2 hours. Certainly no less than an hour, otherwise they’ll draw up like Shrinky Dinks in the oven. You don’t want that. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the meantime.
Once the resting period is over, paint them again with egg wash.
After, cut your vents. And make sure to do it after the egg. Otherwise you’ll just seal your vent holes back up. With a sharp knife cut some half-inch slits.
But don’t just cut…OPEN some vents. Give the knife a slight twist. You want to see filling. See?
Sprinkle the tops with a sugar of your choice. Here I’m just using plain granulated. It works fine.
Bake them until they’re just past blonde. This is maybe a little dark. You want to give them some room to darken in the toaster. If you just want to serve them, let them brown.
Me I like to toast them later. Toasting is sorta the point of pop tarts, no?
Why toast? So you can get some browning on the back, obviously.
Personally, I like to push the toasting until the edges practically burn. Oh yeah, that’s a good tart!