Thursday, August 28, 2014

Strawberry Pop Tarts with Fresita Icing

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 book pop tart by its cover, they are heavenly. 

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. 

Strawberry Pop Tarts with Fresita Icing
Adapted from Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw of via Leite's Culinaria

These tarts are best when they're warm and can be reheated in the toaster as a afternoon snack the next day with what else? A nice glass of Fresita. 

For the dough

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

For the filling
3/4 cup your favorite flavor jam (I chose strawberry since it’s what I had in the fridge)
2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon warm water

For the icing
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons Fresita wine

Make the dough
In a food processor, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt and process until blended. Add the butter and process again just until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and milk and process until the dough just comes together. Dump the dough onto a double layer of overlapping sheets of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a disk, wrap it with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Make the filling
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the jam and cornstarch, stirring quite frequently but not constantly, until slightly thickened and bubbly. Let cool.

Assemble the toaster tarts
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half and form each portion into a rough rectangle. Roll one rectangle until it measures about 16 by 9 inches. Using a ruler and a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle into 12 small rectangles, each about 3 by 4 inches. Set the rectangles on a baking sheet and refrigerate while you repeat with the remaining dough.

Lightly brush half the rectangles with the beaten egg. Place a tablespoon dollop of the filling in the center of each egg-brushed rectangle and use the back of the spoon to spread it evenly over the dough, leaving a border of about 1/2 inch. Top each filling-slathered rectangle with a plain rectangle and press the edges together with your fingertips to seal, being careful not to let the filling ooze out the sides. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Place 6 tarts on each baking sheet, spacing them evenly, prick the tarts all over with the fork. Refrigerate while the oven preheats.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and position 2 oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Bake the tarts, rotating the pans once halfway through, until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Make the glaze
Meanwhile, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside at room temperature until needed.

Stir the glaze to recombine. Drizzle or smear the glaze on the cooled tarts. 

Recipe here!

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