I grew up mostly in Shanghai, where imported food from the States back then was considered in my mind, a treasured thing. My family rarely shopped at the Supercity Market where a majority of their products were imported, they preferred to go to the local supermarket to buy food instead. If I brought lunch to school, I cringed at my leftovers from the night before (rice, rice, meat, rice, veg, rice, rice—what a bore and yet I still eat the same lunches these days). I envied my classmates that ate pastrami sandwiches and sipped on juice boxes covered with colourful animal cartoons. The best part of lunch time though was near the end, when they shared their treats. Sometimes it was pop tarts, or Rice Krispie treats, or Fruit-by-the-Foot, or my personal favourite, Fruit Gushers.
It was important to sit within arms length to these friends so I could get the first piece. They were always so generous, passing out their treat as if their house was made of candy. As we stuck out our tongues to compare whose mouth had undergone the most serious colour transformation caused by the Fruit-by-the-Foot, I always wondered in awe who in their right mind would give away these sweets? I’d keep it all to myself.
Sometime in middle school, I happened to get my hands on my first box of pop tarts. I had studied the bright blue box from side to side and top to bottom, reading the ingredients, admiring the logo, I was so amused at the packaging as if it were a shiny new toy. I tore open the top flap and grabbed a pop tart, wrapped in its thin silver package, ripped the silvery wrapper to reveal the most beautiful pop tart. I licked the chocolate glaze, savored that strange powdery chocolate flavour and inside the pastry was a pudding-like chocolate filling. It was freaking awesome.
I haven't had pop tarts again since after moving back to Canada for school, the baker in me scoffs at buying precooked pastries when I can make them at home. See? I can make little tarts too! They're not quite picture-perfect, since I prefer the ‘rustic’ look and didn’t spend the time to meticulously measure out the pastry dough to ensure each rectangle was the exact size, but don't judge a
The combination of sticky jam with shortbread-like pastry is addictive, they are especially good warm from the oven. Also, the pastry really does shine here. It’s buttery, flaky, and surprising easy to make (which is a big deal compared to my many horrid experiences making pastry dough from scratch).
I used Fresita wine in the icing on these pop tarts too. The wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscatel and is mixed with fresh strawberries. The sparkling wine is a little dry but has a strong fruit flavour to give just enough sweetness.
Fresita is refreshing on its own and tastes amazing chilled, I sipped on few glasses while sunbathing on the patio. The wine also goes well with desserts and is delicious with these strawberry pop tarts. I love that I can hold my Fresita in one hand and a pop tart in the other, no plate required. I would imagine the Fresita would be a good base for making sangria, You can find Fresita at the LCBO.