Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pop Tarts: Dilemmas and Options

Unlike the homemade Doritos, there seems to be no shortage of others out there online who have attempted homemade Pop Tarts before. Not just a string of individual bloggers, either. Even Bon Appetit and King Arthur Flour are in on the game. There are a lot of options out there, but the King Arthur dough recipe seems to be the most common recipe.

The concern that I have with this is that in all of the photos on the various recipes, the dough looks puffy and flaky and delicious... and that is essentially the opposite of an actual Pop Tart. The store bought Pop Tarts have a crumbly crust that almost reminds me more of graham crackers than of flaky pastry. I don't know whether this is because they are mass produced, or because they're full of preservatives, or because they're never actually fresh, and I don't know if that particular type of crust is possible to recreate or not. That could very well be. It is also possible that everyone assessed the situation and thought, well, you could make it like the store bought product, but why bother?

So I'm going to start with a recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs: The Smitten Kitchen. This recipe is adapted from the King Arthur recipe, but differs primarily when it comes to the fruit fillings - King Arthur doesn't have one listed. This fruit filling notes that you should mix it with corn starch in order to thicken it. Not doing so causes it to seep through the edges of the pastries.

I have yet to come across a recipe that purports to result in a pastry that can actually be put in an upright slot toaster. I'm sure all of these would be fine in a toaster oven, but I'm not sure whether I'm willing to potentially wreck my regular toaster trying. Another thing to note is that most of the recipes that I came across indicate that if you want to freeze these pastries, you should do so before you bake them, which kind of defeats the purpose of a pre-baked snack that you just pop into your toaster. I think I'll bake them all and freeze half to see how they handle later on. Most likely I'll reheat them in the oven, but I may also try the toaster by laying it on its side.

Initially, I'm going to follow the recipe exactly, but I'm thinking that maybe in a later batch I would swap in some whole wheat, or white whole wheat flour. I'll initially try a jam filling and a cinnamon-sugar filling (why mess with the classics, right?), but I'll think of some more flavor combinations as I go.

Well, what are we waiting for? Get to the kitchen!

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