sweetheart puff tarts
I've been saving the recipe for these pillowy tarts for months now and finally made them yesterday. What is not to like about your favorite jam, sandwiched between homemade flakey pastry, baked to golden goodness. That's right, nothing!
I can't say I ever was that enamored with the Pop Tart. After finally convincing my mom to buy them, they proved to be a big let down. Over the decades, every time I saw Pop Tarts hyped as "crazy good", I'd think you'd have to be crazy to think that's as good as it gets! Thank goodness King Arthur Flour's recipe produces an "enchantingly good" pastry, finally delivering on my expectations. Now my kid won't ever have to go through the bitter disappointment I did.
These little beauties are not really a breakfast food (and quite frankly neither are Pop Tarts, but that is another discussion) but are more of a deluxe snack or dessert. This batch is filled with homemade marionberry-rhubarb jam but there is lots of room for your own twist and interpretation. Perhaps a chocolate caramel version done with a few squares of dark chocolate and a spoonful of dulce de luche, or a slice of brie with a little pepper jelly...
Any red jam or preserve would be wonderful in this Valentine's Day edition of "pocket size pastry". So go ahead and bake some sweet tarts, and surprise your sweetheart.
This recipe is from King Arthur Flour with only a few minor changes.
- 2 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (I substituted 2 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of very cold Earth Balance Shortening)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter (and Earth Balance Shortening, if you are using it) until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it, with pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible. Mix the egg and milk, and add it to the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive.
Divide the dough in half; each half will weigh about 10 ounces (about 280g). Shape each half into a rough 3" x 5" rectangle, smoothing the edges. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- 3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
To make the filling, mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.
Assemble the tarts: remove dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable (about 15 to 30 minutes if it has been in the fridge for more than an hour). 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". Laying a 9" x 13" pan atop the dough will give you an idea if you’ve rolled it large enough. Trim off the edges; place the scraps on a baking sheet, and set them aside, along with the 9" x 12" rectangle of dough.
Roll the second piece of dough just as you did the first. Press the edge of a ruler into the dough you’ve just rolled, to gently score it in thirds lengthwise and widthwise; you’ll see nine 3" x 4" rectangles. Cut a small heart shape out of the middle of each of the small rectangles of dough so that the jam filling will show through once assembled.
Beat an additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the bottom dough. Place a heaping tablespoon of jam filling into the center of each marked rectangle. Place the second sheet of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around each pocket of jam, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Cut the dough evenly in between the filling mounds to make nine tarts. Press the cut edges with your fingers to seal, then press with a fork, to seal again.
Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork to ensure steam can escape. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
Sprinkle the dough trimmings with a little sugar and cinnamon. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.
Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 25 to 35 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan. Yield: 9 tarts.