I love Pop Tarts, but they are industrialized poison. So, when I came across this recipe via Mrs. Q at Fed Up With Lunch, I decided to give them a whack. My husband likes Pop Tarts, and my son … well, he doesn’t really care for them, which is good, I guess, but sort of a mistake on my part to make them with his school day breakfasts in mind.
Here’s the short version of this recipe: Make a pie crust. Roll it out and cut it into 16 squares. Put a splodge of strawberry preserves in the middle of 8 of the squares and cover them with the remaining 8 squares. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. Dust with powdered sugar while still warm. The end.
Now then, if you’re like me and you’ve always been intimidated by the idea of making a pie crust and therefore haven’t done it, the longer version of this recipe might be helpful. Why have I never made a pie crust? I don’t know. Now that I’ve done it, effectively, I see that it’s really no big deal and now I never ever have an excuse to spend $15 on a homemade pie at the farmers’ market. I think my Fear of Pie Crusts has to do with having been externally motivated all my life. I craved gold stars, trophies, little pins for my players’ hat to commemorate my (extremely few) achievements in kickball. I needed validation from outer forces to affirm my self-worth. This means that a.) I am afraid to do something that intimidates me because I don’t want to screw it up and b.) the dissertation-writing process has perhaps been more painful and protracted than it needed to be. I’ve never been good at doing things over and over and over until I get them right. I want them done right the first time I do them.
I see my son exhibiting those tendencies and it makes me sad. He will quit in the middle of a Wii game because he’s not winning. Rather than lose and keep trying, he will start the game over. There’s a great Samuel Beckett quote that I have to remind myself of and that my husband and I try to impart a kindergarten version of in our son: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” It’s in the “fail better” where we actually improve; it’s just overcoming that fear of failing that has proven to be my stumbling block, and one I hope we can help to remove from our son’s psychic path as we bring him up.
Which brings us back to pie crust. I think if I had realized that I was making a pie crust as I whipped up these babies, I might not have gone there. But it wasn’t until I was rolling out the dough that it dawned on me. So now I have a pie crust recipe, one that I know is tasty and vetted by Bon Appetit.
Strawberry “pop tarts”
2 c + 2 T all purpose flour
1 t coarse kosher salt
1 t sugar
1 c (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 T ice water
8 tablespoons strawberry preserves
Powdered sugar (totally optional, in my opinion)
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter. Blend on low until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls, mixing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide in half. Wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.
After chilling, line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll out dough to a 13×11 inch blob. Square it up, cut out 8 rectangles. Place pieces on parchment.
Put 1 T of preserves in center.
Roll out the other dough ball and cut out 8 more rectangles. Place these rectangles gently on top of the preserves. Gently press the edges, then reinforce these closures with a fork.
Use fork to poke a few holes in the tarts. Place trays in freezer and chill for at least 2 hours.
After freezing, position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake frozen tarts uncovered until golden, reversing sheets after 15 minutes, 25 to 30 minutes total. Immediately transfer tarts to rack. Optional: Sift powdered sugar on top of them. But really, they are just fine “naked,” too.
My husband and I thought they were delicious (we split one while they were still warm). My son was suspicious of them, saying “they don’t look very yummy.” I finally coerced him to eat a small piece, and he nodded noncommittally (how can he already be like this at age 5? I thought this kind of squirrelliness would come closer to age 12 or so). I offered him one for breakfast this morning and he turned it down. So, the box went to work with my husband (he reported a few weeks back that his coworkers had been complaining that I hadn’t been sending many baked goods with him lately, so I hope they’re happy!). I would keep them here for my own breakfasts, but I can’t afford to eat something with 9 POINTS in it for breakfast.