Saturday, 14 May 2011

Some Old Tarts

Maple Bacon Pop Tarts
Pizza Time Pop Tart 


So me and Michelle get these cravings for junk food from back home every once in a while here in the Bloody Ole. Michelle is a fan of the Smitten Kitchen website (cant hate, its great) and flipped out when she saw their homemade version of Pop Tarts. Upon seeing it myself I was craving the original junkie, awful-for-your-health original. But I had yet to find anywhere in London that sold Pop Tarts (until about a week ago). (Updated: A friend of mine has let me know that Pop Tarts were in fact sold in UK supermarkets but that now she doesnt see them anymore.)

But why would I crave so hard for such junkie food stuffs? Most likely it has to do with the fact that I was raised by an alternative leaning health-food crazied mother who spent a good portion of her life munching on veggie burritos and granola in the parking lots at Grateful Dead shows across the USA. So I ate Kashi instead of anything close to Fruit Loops or Coco Puffs, and was only allowed Soy Milk. I hated Soy milk, still do kind of. Pop Tarts were only available to me after sleeping over at certain friends' houses as a youngster. My mother would have snatched them from me if she ever saw me eating one. Back then McDonalds was a real treat as well. Hell... actual milk was a rarity! I drank more kambucha as a kid than most college students do in their 4 year terms. 

Another factor leading towards us making some filled pastry item is undoubtably our daily experiences or non-experiences with British cuisine which almost revolves around baked and filled/stuffed goods. Plus we had just gotten back from a beautiful weekend in Cornwall and had had our first encounters with Cornish Pasties. Those Pasties blew us away in a... umm... undesirable way. Eating something that doughy, greasy, and meat chocked whilst riding around curving country roads underneath the omnipotent English sun made for a wholesomely queasy experience. Im sure Cornish Pasties are amazing if you eat one after some hard outdoor manual labor. Our British hosts handled their Pasties a-ok. On a tourist American stomach they wreck havoc apparently. 

Alas, seeing homemade Pop Tarts triggered a longing for the secret hide-from-yer-mom treat of my youth. That lead to other sloppy American food items I miss, like pancakes and bacon with maple syrup. Being bored at the time lead to me and Michelle spending the greater portion of our evening concocting these versions of Smitten's tarts.

Home made Pop Tarts
(makes 9 - 3x5inch)
(dough recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Maple Bacon Version:


6 crispy cooked bacon slices - finely chopped
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
1 teaspoon maple syrup
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour


2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk (more if needed to achieve the right consistency)

Pizza Time Version:


1 cup of leftover Tomato sauce for spaghetti
1 ball fresh mozzarella (torn into strips)
Basil leaf for each tart

grated parmesan for dusting tops of tarts

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″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] 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.

Assemble the Maple Bacon filling by mixing all ingredients together until well incorporated. Place a heaping tablespoon of Maple Bacon filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. For Pizza Time Tarts place one small spoonful of your tomato sauce down on the dough, then top with piece of mozzarella (dont use too much or the filling will be too big for the tart to hold together), then one leaf of basil.

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.

Remove tarts from fridge. Sprinkle your Pizza Time Tarts with grated Parmesan before baking (350°F or 175c). Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Glaze for Maple Bacon Tarts:

Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add maple syrup and slowly mix to incorporate. Add the tablespoon of milk and mix until smooth. Add more milk if needed. You want the consistency to be thin enough to pour but not so runny that it won't stay on top of the tarts.

Once the tarts are cooled, spoon the glaze over each one and let sit for 30min until it had set. Enjoy at room temp or gently reheat in the oven.

No comments:

Post a Comment