Pop tarts are one of those breakfast foods that everyone grew up with. My mom only bought the plain, non frosted kind, so that’s what I remember. She was also the type that never bought cereal that changed your milk colors, so I was a Kix/Chex/Cheerio’s kid and used my friends’ houses for their cinnamon toast crunch. I made these a few years ago and made a glaze for them, but this time I thought they were just as good without. Even the New York prison escapee was found with pop tarts.
The jam mixture was a little too runny even after heating it over the stove with corn starch, so the majority of these ended up being brown sugar/cinnamon. For the strawberry jam ones, I used straight up jam out of the jar and discarded my liquid-y jam stovetop mess. This is not the time to use your fancy jam from France. I have this fig jam with the fancy label from my Try the World box, but fig = not for the masses and the classic Smucker’s strawberry is what childhood is made of. Also, my food processor is obnoxious and takes a few grown men to open and close the top, so I made the dough in my mixer and called it a day.
Recipe via Smitten Kitchen
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small squares
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 additional large egg (to brush onto the dough)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling
To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.
Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.
Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
This weekend was also my first show of the season at the Palladium. I treated myself to season tickets this year, two tickets in the gallery for all of the shows, and one of my favorite performers was included in the opening show. Di Wu is an incredible pianist and I have seen her three or four times at the Palladium over the years. She shared a memory from her first ever Palladium performance and said she arrived at the airport late in Indy and was forced to wear her jeans and ballet flats out on stage. This performance was a gala event and everyone was in tuxes and ballgowns. She said, “At least they were DARK jeans.” The show included music from Star Wars, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, jazz, and even music from the Broadway show Wicked. It was the 40th anniversary of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, so they served cake to everyone as we left.
The conductor also emphasized the importance of bringing kids to the shows and exposing them to music at an early age. I love that they have made the Palladium kid friendly and going to shows as a kid is one reason I love going now. It was also one of the first times I have been to a show since I had LASIK last May and I could actually see the conductor’s face. This may sound silly, but when you are a former -11.5 and wore the best contacts you could get, you didn’t always see everything in full detail. Well now I do and I genuinely appreciate seeing the musicians’ faces.