October 19th, 2012
If I understand correctly, Pop Tarts are toaster pastries that get their name from the fact that they P-O-P in and out of the toaster. Sound right? Then these—and most other homemade—’Pop Tarts’ making the internet a tastier place are not really Pop Tarts at all. Made with a simple pie dough (as opposed to a flaky pastry dough), they are more like hand pies.
I have a feeling that you don’t care much about the veracity of my pop tart claim. (If you do, drop me a line and I’ll happily divert some of the time that I spend on Pinterest to a conversation about the accurate naming of home baked goods.) I have a feeling that you’d much rather know that these:
* freeze beautifully
* can be filled with nearly anything you like
* can be taken out of the freezer the night before you want to, uh, POP them into kiddo’s lunchbox or serve them as an after school snack
* are fun to make with kiddo (you can tell from my photo that the hungry boy led the charge on our last batch)
So, yea, pop tarts… hand pies… who cares?!
Here’s the basic rundown: Make a simple pie dough, roll it out and cut it into squares. Top 1/2 of the squares will a filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border, and then brush an egg wash around the edges. Top with remaining plain pieces of dough and use a fork to seal all of the edges. Bake and presto!
The recipe below calls for a glaze which is how I like to serve these right out of the oven or as a special treat. I tend to freeze these and, once defrosted, those are usually eaten without a glaze. It’s just easier that way, plus the extra sugar isn’t always necessary, especially when these are going into the hungry boy’s lunch box.
Honey Apple Pie Pop Tarts
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
5 to 8 tablespoons ice water
2 small apples, peeled, cored and cut into a small dice
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
8 teaspoons cream cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (to glaze all of the pastries; optional)
2 tablespoons milk (to glaze all of the pastries; optional)
1. Make the dough (you can substitute store bought, enough to make one 9-inch double crust pie): In a food processor, pulse together flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and process until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 5 tablespoons of ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers, but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 teaspoons at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough onto a work surface, divide in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Make the filling by combining diced apples, lemon juice and honey; set aside.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 of the disks of dough into a rectangle 1/8-inch thick. Cut out 8 rectangles, rerolling the scraps as needed. Using a small offset spatula or a butter knife, spread about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese onto 4 pieces of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border, and top with apple mixture. Brush the edges of the apple-topped pieces with the egg mixture and top each with a plain piece of dough. Using a fork, press around the edges of each assembled pastry to seal the top and bottom pieces of dough. Transfer the pastries to the prepped baking sheet and refrigerate while you repeat the process with the remaining dough, cream cheese and apples. (It’s ideal to refrigerate the second batch of pastries for at least 10 minutes, as well, but not absolutely necessary.)
4. Bake pastries in preheated oven until golden, for 25-30 minutes. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
5. Glaze pastries (only the ones to be served immediately; optional): Stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until well combined. Using a spoon, lightly drizzle the icing onto the toaster pastries. Let the icing harden completely before serving. To freeze, package cooled, unglazed pastries in a ziplock bag, each separated by pieces of parchment. Glaze defrosted pastries before serving, if desired.
*Note: Do not serve honey to children under 12-months-old for risk of botulism. Even the high heat of baking does not necessarily kill botulism spores. Also be sure to serve age appropriate portions. This recipe makes 8 adult-sized pop tarts. Cut in half, if not smaller, for young eaters (as a reference, I only pack 1/2 a tart in my 6-year-old’s lunch). In step 3, you can cut smaller rectangles to make mini-pop tarts. Either way, a little of this sweet treat goes a long way with little ones.