I’ve never been a huge fan of PopTarts. When they’re cold, I think they taste primarily like preservatives. Toasted, they taste primarily like warm preservatives.
But I like the idea of the toaster pastry. They make great breakfast food and even better snack food. And as someone who has a really bad habit of opening jars of jam, eating half of them, then forgetting about them, they give me a great way way to use up the rest of the jam.
I made these once a long time back, using the Good Eats recipe. They were good – certainly an improvement over the packaged ones! – but not amazing.
Then a few weeks ago, a friend gave me a jar of homemade peach-ginger jam. And I thought it would make an amazing toaster pasty filling, so I went looking for a new recipe.
This time, I tried the King Arthur Flour version. I have somewhat mixed feelings about their recipes in general – I think too many of the new ones rely on their special ingredients, but the ones that don’t tend to be really great.
Their recipe called for a cinnamon and brown sugar filling, but I was mostly interested in the pastry part.
It looked like a Brioche recipe to me – a very rich dough, with lots of milk and butter. It wasn’t hard to put together – whisk the flour with some sugar and salt, then work in the butter. I could have used a pastry cutter, but I just worked it in with my fingertips. It goes faster if the butter is slightly softened.
Then add an egg and milk to bring the dough together, then roll it out. I didn’t fiddle too much with getting the dough perfectly square – someday I’ll figure out how to roll out perfect 9×12 squares of dough, but it isn’t going to be today. I trimmed off the edges to square the dough up, then I cut it into three long strips, and cut each one of those in half.
I was careful to keep the “pairs” together. I put the bottom halves on a Silpat on a cookie sheet, spooned on the filling, then put on the tops. I did half of them with the cinnamon-brown sugar filling, and the other half with the peach jam.
The edges get sealed with a fork, just like a pie crust. I had better luck if I dipped the fork in flour first – even after it was rolled out, the dough was a bit sticky. I poked holes in the top to vent (and so I could tell which filling was in which pastries!). Then into the fridge for half an hour while the oven preheated.
I intentionally under-baked them just a bit, so they’d finish browning in the toaster later. I was afraid if I browned them all the way in the oven, they’d get burnt in the toaster.
Most of them didn’t survive to the next day to go into the toaster, though. The peach jam ones were by far the best, but the cinnamon was good too.
I’m tempted to make a half-size version for my next party. They’d make great finger food, and I’m always looking for recipes where I can make a big batch with lots of different flavors inside for variety. Let’s see, I could do cherry, and strawberry, and maybe chocolate – ooh, I bet you could get away with any sturdy pastry cream, too….