Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Putting an Adult Spin on a Childhood Favorite: Pluot-Apricot Merlot Pop Tarts

I just finished a rather lengthy post, here, about this past Sunday's Concert in the Park, when I challenged everyone in our foodie group to prepare one of their childhood favorites. Due to the length of that post and all of our photos, I wanted to prepare separate posts with the recipes for my Pop Tarts and John's Yellow Chili.

My inspiration for the theme of Childhood Favorites came from a recent Tasting Table e-mail, Pop Up, a grown-up childhood standby, featuring a recipe for Buzz Bakery's Peach Pop Tarts. I, too, was a fan of Pop-Tarts as a kid. Of course, the potential flavor combinations are endless, and it's always a fun challenge to revamp and put your own spin on one of the classics...even if that classic comes out of a box!

Since pluots are back at the Farmers' Market, and I was very pleased with Thomas Keller's Plum Zinfandel Jam, here, I decided to make another variation of that jam for my Pop Tart filling. This time, I used a pound of Dapple Dandy Pluots, a pound of apricots, and Merlot wine. The glaze is flavored with a touch of vanilla, and sprinkled with raw sugar. I also made a Peach-Rosemary-Grand Marnier and Mascarpone version, but those really spread during baking. Again, a longer chilling time before baking may have helped those babies.

During preparation, I wasn't a big fan of this dough recipe and was ready to throw in the towel and throw these in the trash. If you have a favorite pie crust dough, you may prefer to use it. I think this dough would benefit from a bit more flour and additional chilling time, both before rolling and after the pop tarts are prepared, prior to baking. My second batch turned out much better with those modifications. In the end, everyone loved these - especially the flavor of the jam.

Pluot-Apricot Merlot Pop Tarts

Pluot-Apricot Merlot Jam
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Plum Zinfandel Jam, Ad Hoc at Home

1 pound pluots (pitted and chopped)
1 pound apricots (pitted and chopped)
1 cup sugar
1 cup Merlot

Combine the pluots, apricots, sugar and wine in a large saucepan and attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue simmering until the jam reaches 215-220 degrees F (about 30-40 minutes). Remove from heat.

Spoon jam into a canning jar or other storage container, cover, and let cool to room temperature. Can be refrigerated for up to one month.

Whole Wheat Dough
Adapted from Tasting Table

1½ sticks unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg, whisked(for egg wash)

Sugar Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup raw sugar (for sprinkling on top of the glaze)

Make the dough: In a standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat and all-purpose flours, baking powder and salt. Add the flour and buttermilk into the butter mixture, alternating mixtures until a dough forms. Divide the dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (original recipe called for only 30 minutes, but I didn't feel that was long enough).

To assemble pop tarts: Remove one dough ball from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. (Note: This is where I ran into problems. I found the dough still very soft and sticky after refrigerating only 30 minutes, and used a generous amount of flour on my board and rolling pin). Roll out to a large rectangle, about ¼-inch thick. Cut the dough into eight 4 x 3 inch rectangles (I used a rectangular cookie cutter), re-rolling the dough if necessary. Place the rectangles on a parchment-paper-lined sheet pan and chill in the refrigerator. Roll out the second ball of dough and cut into eight 4 x 3 inch rectangles. Place this set of rectangles on a second parchment-paper-lined sheet pan and chill in the refrigerator.

Remove the first set of rectangles from the refrigerator and brush some egg wash around the outside 1/2 inch edge of the rectangle. Carefully top each rectangle with about two tablespoons of the jam, spreading within the 1/2 inch border brushed with egg wash.

Remove the second set of dough from the refrigerator and top the first set of rectangles and fruit with the dough. Seal with your fingers and use a fork dipped in flour to finish the seal. Chill the pop tarts in the refrigerator for one hour (Again, the original recipe called for 30 minutes, but I think extra refrigeration helps to prevent spreading during cooking).

Preheat the oven to 325°. Place the pop tarts in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow to cool completely before applying the glaze.

Make the sugar glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, water (add a tablespoon at a time until you obtain the desired consistency - I preferred my glaze a little thicker. You may need to make extra glaze, depending on thickness and amount used) and vanilla extract. Spoon about a tablespoon of glaze on top of the pop tart, spreading with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle with raw sugar, and allow glaze to set before serving.


bunkycooks said...

Will you prepare these for breakfast when we FINALLY make it to California?! ;)

Carmen said...

Leave it Denise to perfect the common poptart!