The Pinterest-verse does not need another take on pop tarts. I know this for a fact. However, what do you think I am going to do today? Yep, that’s right. I’m going to talk about making pop tarts.
I was inspired by this pin for homemade lemon toaster pastries to make pop tarts after school. I was surprised to find that these were neither what I would consider homemade nor was there a toaster involved. Don’t get me wrong. These look delicious. The photograph is beautiful. But they are made with store-bought pie crust and lemon curd. Before you get all excited, of course you use store-bought filling. It’s just jam, right? True. And yes, I use store-bought pie crust for everything. Chicken potpie? You bet. Moroccan hand pies? Yep. I do realize that I have no reason to get all high and mighty about this. But I did. It pushed me into action. It was time to make my own crust.
I started my search by looking for a truly homemade pop tart on Pinterest. I found two good contestants: here and here. Then I started thinking about an article on coconut oil that I had just read (no link, people - can’t remember where I read it) that said that coconut oil in its solid form can be substituted for shortening. Hmmmm. How about a combination of butter and coconut oil instead of butter and shortening? I looked up two more recipes for pie crust – Martha Stewart’s and Joy the Baker’s. Both called for 2 ½ cups flour and 1 cup butter. Both called for salt. One called for sugar and vinegar. Both called for slightly different amounts of water.
I decided to go with a cross between Joy’s and Martha’s. I used the flour and butter proportion from both, substituting coconut oil for half of the butter. I knew it would be a bit risky because the flavor of butter is important, but also knew that shortening is often used in pie crust. I added one teaspoon of sugar and something less than one teaspoon of salt. I used at least three tablespoons of water, but since Théa was doing the measuring here, one can’t be sure how much water actually ended up in the crust.
I’m pretty sure my water wasn’t cold enough. And I thought the whole thing was never going to come together until I read Martha’s instruction to mix the dough in the food processor until it “holds together when squeezed.” Bingo. We had a winner. Into the refrigerator went the dough and down for nap went the kids.
Once refrigerated, I realized that my dough might have been a bit too dry. I had trouble keeping it together to roll out but after letting it warm up a bit, was able to come up with 15 mini pop tarts.
We used strawbery jam that was homemade by my Aunt Lisie. I hated to waste jam this amazing jam but knew that the results might be outstanding if the dough worked.
The true test? The kids.
My taste testers declared the crust too dry and a bit overpowering of the jam. On further discussion, we decided that the problem was not with the dough recipe but with the dough to filling ratio. I think this could be easily fixed by rolling the dough as thin as you can and putting in as much filling as you can muster.
I did read on one of the recipes that the filling shrinks when baked and this is absolutely an understatement. I had filling spilling out of the sides of the pastry, but it still was too little filling for the finished pop tarts. Fill ‘em up. Don’t be shy. I also think I would add just a bit more ice water to the dough next time. Probably should have trusted my initial instincts on this one but nap time was waiting.
We used the glaze recipe from here, which was very sweet on its own but worked great for a topping. These don’t need much glaze as they are definitely sweet enough.
I’ve actually been dying to make these chocolate pop tarts forever. I’ve been a bit scared to make the dough though. Now that I’ve tried dough once, I think it’s time to try again. No time like the present. Or next week. I’ll let you know how they come out.