Monday, August 26, 2013

Classic Snacks Made From Scratch:Fruit Filled Treats

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These fruit filled treats known as Pop-Tarts have been very popular amongst children for many years and with adults as well.These sweet pastries from Kellogg's have been around since 1964 and surprisingly only started with four flavors on the market, including strawberry,blueberry,brown sugar cinnamon and apple current.These flavors all still exist to this day, along with over 20 different flavor varieties and limited editions   to enjoy.Wow!,that is a lot of flavors to enjoy and with this pastry snack being so popular. How can you pass up testing out a homemade version like the one above from Classic Snacks? Can you resist?

Well it might all depend on the flavor, right? Well in Classic Snacks you have two flavors to choose from, such as strawberry and brown sugar cinnamon.These two fillings already sound delicious;however if these flavors don't strike your fancy I can imagine you could easily enough use any filing that you desire.Now for me,I am a big strawberry lover so it was a no brainier in taking the challenge of making these Strawberry Pop-Tarts.So lets see if these homemade versions come to close to the original Kellogg's brand.

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So to begin, lets talk about how this recipe played out for me.Well at first it looked as though this treat was going to be pretty difficult to master;however with each step Casey's has away of making it pretty direct in her instructions for everyone to understand.Now I'm not saying their wasn't any new skills to be learned throughout this recipe because there definitely was,trust me on that.Its just I felt very comfortable even with a treat I have never made before.Also,this recipe uses very simple ingredients along with fresh fruit and the most important part, it leaves out all those pesky preservatives in the store bought versions.

This recipe was challenging and enjoyable all at the same time.The pastry was very quick and simple to prepare with only a 1 hour wait time for chilling.The wait time was no bother in this recipe because I was kept very busy making a very basic strawberry jam filling.This berry filling used only fresh strawberries,fresh lemon juice and sugar for sweetness.All while leaving out all the artificial flavors,preservatives and addictive from the original and giving you a fresh berry flavored jam.This is a very simple jam to master, along as you have the time and patience to create it.It is a very basic recipe because all your doing is breaking down the strawberry mixture to create a very vibrant thick strawberry jam with berry chunks.Also,the great part about making this jam is it creates a very strong sweet smell throughout your kitchen and mind you it will make yourself and everyone else want to taste test this jam.Lastly, I have nothing, but good things to say about preparing this pastry and jam filling.The directions were simply lay-out and you felt very comfortable.

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Now for the skill point of this recipe,the assembling.This where you might run into a bit of frustration or challenge.For me, it was challenging because it took some skill to get a good measurement in rolling out two large rectangles that are 10 inch by 12 inches with a thickness of about 1/4 inch.This can be a bit difficult because you can run into a bit of cracking in the pastry or uneven sides.Sometimes your able to repair it easily enough;however sometimes you might end up with uneven squares once you have to cut them out.So that lead us into measuring smaller rectangles and surprisingly I didn't have much trouble with this since I had previously gained some skill in pastry from the recipe for Mc Donalds Apple Pie. For these Pop-Tarts I had to cut out smaller squares that reached up to twelve and surprisingly I was able to stretch it to sixteen squares,which then made eight Pop-Tarts instead of the six.I was so proud of myself that I made more and now crossing my fingers that these turn out good.

Then for the actual assembling of these babies.It was easy enough to add the jam to the pastry squares;however adding the pastry tops deem to be a bit fitniqie since the jam would always seep out when pressing the ends with the tine of the fork.Some of the jam would get on the ends and that can be a bit of a problem when your baking.So I tried my best to get most of the jam off the outside of the pastry to prevent any burning when baking and made sure to poke holes in the pastries to vent the jam.You don't want any of your Pop-Tarts exploding in the oven. For me,I was pretty lucky with the baking because only a bit of jam oozed out of the tops and darken a bit while baking.These came out very golden brown and puffed with the jam actually given the tarts a more homemade traditional appearance.Then for the icing on the top,the best part to the Pop-Tart and given it just a bit more sweetness.This was one of the really fun parts of the recipe because the glaze was very simple to create and then I got to spread on the icing of my very first homemade Strawberry Pop-Tart.The assembling gets two and half thumbs up from me!

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Then for the best and last part of this recipe,the taste test.You have been waiting so patiently for an honest answer or you have just scrolled down to the end for the best part.I don't blame you at any means if you did.So I wont let you down in my honesty.So did these homemade versions meet their maker?................Well to be straight forward these were way better then the original Strawberry Pop-Tart.Why? because they have so much more flavor and the pastry is so moist and not as dry as the original.It meets all the similaritys in appearance to a Pop-Tart,but so much better.The pastry is wonderfully buttery and flaky with a sweet translucent glossy glaze on top.Then once you bite into one you won't want to ever buy the store bought,no offense to the brand or the fans.The filling is so beautifully vibrant in color and a really strong berry flavor that works so well with the buttery flavor of the pastry.These are so well worth the effort and time to create them and now you have a treat without any artificial flavors or preservatives.Its a win,win situation in my book,especially for children that love Pop-Tarts.

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If you love strawberries like I do then you will love these homemade Pop-Tarts.These are extremely addicting and you will know what I mean when you take a bite into this moist,buttery, berry heaven. If I could give these more then two thumbs up for appearance,flavor and texture I would! I definitely recommend these homemade version,these are definitely memorable for sure. I even can't wait to try my own creative fillings for next time.So anyways,this is the end of fruit filled treat chapter test and now I am on to Fried And Frozen Treats.Sounds yummy,so be sure to stay tune and enjoy all the Classic Snacks recipe so far.

Make sure to comment with any questions,ideas or to let me know how the recipe turn out for you!

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Strawberry Pop-Tarts

Yields:6 pastries, I stretched it to 8
Equipment: food processor (optional),pizza cutter,pastry cutter
Total Time Based on Recipe: 2 hours,plus cooling time.


21/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp chilled unsalted butter,cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup chilled vegetables shortening, cut into 1/2 cubes
1/4 cup ice cold water
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 large egg whisked with 1 tbsp of water,for egg wash

Strawberry Filling:

1 pound strawberries,hulled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tbsp whole or reduced fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Making Dough:

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I mix the flour,sugar and salt together in a large bowl.If using a food processor, pulse dry mixture to sift and combine.

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Then I cut in the butter and shortening,using a pastry cutter into pea sized chunks visible and texture of moist cornmeal.If using a food processor,add fat and pulse for 3 second until resembles cornmeal.

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Then I drizzle in the water and vinegar,then used a pastry cutter gently to combine.If using a food processor, drizzle in the wet ingredients through the feed tube and pulse until shaggy and crumbly dough begin to form.

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Then I divide the dough in half and shaped into 2 discs.Then I wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or can be overnight.

Making Strawberry Jam

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While the dough is chilling,I wash and cut the strawberries in halves,you can also quarter them depending on the size of the berries.

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Then I mash the berries with a potato masher in a large bowl,while keeping some big chunks so it will create small strawberry chunks when you bite into the pastry.

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 Then I stir in the sugar and lemon juice and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.This is where the berries break down slightly.I also stir once or twice to help dissolve the sugar.

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Once the berries have broken down,I pour the strawberry mixture in a high sided pan or can use a dutch oven.The wider the pot is the more the liquid will evaporate evenly.Then I bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat.This can take some time.Once the berries come to a boil,I remove the berry chunks with a slotted spoon and placed in a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl.This will then strain the juice while leaving out the chunks.Then I place the berry chunks in a small bowl and pour the syrup back into the pot.

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Now I continue to boil the syrup,stirring often,until thickened and jelly-like,about 15- 20 minutes.Visual cues, the liquid will foam,clarify as the bubble slow and the puree thickens.Then I return the strawberry chunks to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes,until the jam is the desired thickness and consistency.Then I transfer the mixture to a clean bowl, you can also use a mason jar.

Assemble and Bake:

Preheat the oven to 375F. Then I lined my half sheet with a silpat mat.You can also line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.

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On a floured surface,I rolled out one dough disc into a 10 by 12 inch rectangle at about 1/4 inch thickness.Using a pizza cutter I divide, the rolled dough into 6 (3 by 5 inch) rectangles.Then I place the cut dough on the prepared baking sheet(s). Then I repeat with the second dough disc,but leaving them on the flour work surface.In the end you might end up with a lot of pastry left over like I did and be able to easily roll out 4 more squares to create 8 tarts all together. Tip: Be very careful with rolling out the dough to prevent cracking or uneven sides.

Then I spooned 2 tbsps of strawberry jam into the center of each rectangle on the baking sheet.You can add another tbsp of jam if you desire.Then I brushed the edges with the egg wash.Then I place the reserved dough rectangle atop each filled rectangle and seal the edges by pressing with the tines of a fork.Then I used the fork to poke holes in the pastry top. Tip: Seeping of jam will most likely occur so be sure to remove as much jam off the edges before baking to prevent burning,a little bit of oozing during baking is alright.

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Tip :For any very small left over pastry scraps,you can easily spread some butter on top of each pastry,then sprinkle on a little sugar and cinnamon.This way you can bake these till golden brown along side the tarts.These will have to be removed before the tarts are done of course and now everyone can enjoy some cinnamon sugar pastry.

  For the tarts I baked them at about 30 minute,until golden brown and puffed.Then I transfer the tarts to a wire rack and let cool completely before eating or frosting.

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Frost The Tarts:

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I whisked the powdered sugar,2 tbsps milk,and vanilla together to form a thick glaze.I added the final tbsp of milk a drizzle at a time until the glaze has the consistency you desire.I had to add more powder sugar to make it slightly thicker.Then using a basting brush or a small metal spatula to spread the glaze on the cooled pastries.

Store the tarts in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

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