Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pop Tarts, Take One!!

About a week ago (maybe more?), Jackie from Not Your Bubbe's Kitchen and I got a bit obsessed with making our own pop tarts.  When I get obsessed with making something, especially if it's something I've never made, I don't stop until I've made it to my satisfaction. 

As a result of this, I have completed my first attempt at making pumpkin pie pop tarts.  Jackie also made some!  Hers, however, are a healthier (no, really) version.  She is infinitely good at making things healthier, so you should go check out her recipe.  I, on the other hand, don't even try to make things healthier.  I believe in butter and sugar and all that they stand for.

I say this is my first attempt because, while these were amazingly tasty, they were not what I want them to be.  Here are the things I will change the next time, just to start:
  1. The dough.  I used a traditional pie dough (spiced up a bit), and while it was delicious, it was also very flaky.  It was not like the cookie-ish crust that is on a normal pop tart.  Next time, I will try my regular tart dough, as it is more like a cookie. 
  2. More filling!  You can kind of see in the photo that there isn't a lot of filling.  I think I was worried that it would make the pastries explode during baking, so I didn't use more than about a tablespoon on each one.  Definitely not enough.
  3. Less glaze!  The glaze was really tasty, but I put it on too think, and it never got hard like it's supposed to.  

And, I have a couple of notes about this recipe. 
  1. I used my favorite pie dough.  You can use whichever one you like best.  However, if you are looking for a good all-purpose pie dough (except for this purpose, obviously), this is a great one. 
  2. I went simple for the filling.  I just used the recipe on the back of the can of pumpkin puree.  I thought it was just fine.
  3. Poke more holes in the tops than you think you will need.  The filling is really moist, so a lot of steam is going to be looking to escape.  If you don't poke a lot of holes, they will get really puffy and look weird.
  4. I am OBSESSED with pumpkin pie spice.  I have it in my cabinet all year round.  I used a lot of it in this recipe.  You don't have to use as much as I do.

Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts, Take One

For the crust:
All-Butter Double Crust Pie Dough
Source: America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1/3 cup ice water, plus extra as needed
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and frozen for 10 to 15 minutes

This is the regular recipe.  When I made it for this use, I added a little more sugar (like 1/2 tablespoon or so) and about a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice.  You don't have to, but I felt like it added something nice.

1.  Mix 1/3 cup of the ice water and sour cream together in a small bowl until combined. Process the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined (add the pumpkin pie spice at this step, if using).  Scatter the butter pieces over the top about pulse the mixture until the butter is the size of large peas, about 10 pulses.

2.  Pour half of the sour cream mixture over the flour mixture and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses.  Repeat with the remaining sour cream mixture.  Pinch the dough with your fingers; if the dough feels dry and does not hold together, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons more ice water over the mixture and pulse until the dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, 3 to 5 pulses.

3.  Divide the dough into 2 even pieces.  Turn each piece of dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. 

For the filling:
Famous Pumpkin Pie
Source: the back of the can of Libby's pumpkin puree

Note:  this makes enough filling for two large pies.  It's WAY more than you will need.  I made it all, since I figured I would be making pop tarts again soon.  Whatever's left I will freeze and use later for something else.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 can (29 oz.) pureed pumpkin
2 cans (12 oz each) evaporated milk

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk. 

At this point, I put the filling into the freezer to chill a bit and get slightly more solid.  You could use the fridge, but I didn't feel like waiting that long.


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  On a floured surface, roll out your dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. You want it to be thinner than you would make it for a regular pie.  Cut the dough into whatever shapes you want.  I did rectangles this time, but you could use cookie or biscuit cutters.  I wouldn't do anything too complicated though.  And make sure you have two of each shape if you do multiple shapes.

2.  Spoon some filling on half of the shapes.  Spread it out slightly with your spoon.  Brush the edges of the piece with the filling with egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water).  Top with another piece of dough.  Gently press around the filling to get out any air.  Crimp the edges with a fork to seal the pieces together.

3.  Poke several holes in the top of each pop tart with a fork.  Brush each one with egg wash.  Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pop tarts are golden brown and crisp. 

4.  Let the pop tarts cool on a rack.

Once they are cool, you can glaze them. 

For the glaze:

Okay, so this is where I forgot to measure stuff.  I took some warm water, combined it with powdered sugar, and added pumpkin pie spice to taste.  I beat it in a bowl with a fork until it was smooth, adding more sugar or water or spice until it was the taste and consistency I wanted.  When I got to that point, I spread it on the pop tarts and put them back on the parchment lined sheet pans, so that if the glaze dripped, I didn't have to really clean up anything.  If you want to add sprinkles, do it while the glaze is still wet.

Allow the glaze to harden before doing anything with them.  I let them sit overnight, and since I used too much, they got a crust on top, but were still soft underneath.  Meh, they were still really tasty, so I didn't care too much. Store them in an airtight container. 

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