As promised last week, I will share with you one of my happiest food discoveries of 2013: Homemade Toaster Tarts. Now… you can call them toaster pastries, toaster tarts, toaster pops – whatever you like. The bottom line is: They are SO MUCH better when they are homemade! And surprisingly simple to accomplish.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila. I had some Blackberry Mint Mojito freezer jam tucked away and decided it would be perfect for such a project.
The results were fabulous and have led me to wish I could make these weekly because they are just so darn satisfying and delicious (and so much better tasting and better for you than their store-bought “pop tart” doppelgangers)!
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So here comes my big confession: I’m a big scaredy cat about making pie crust from scratch. I don’t know why. A friend of mine teases me about it quite a bit. And it is silly. I am just hesitant to take it on. So the two times I’ve already made these, I’ve used a store-bought crust. (Pillsbury worked much better than the Trader Joe’s crust, just FYI.)
Next time I tackle these, I’m going to make my crust from scratch. If you’re unsure of how to do such a thing, google “pie crust” and select a recipe that matches your food sensibilities (e.g., vegan, non-crisco-eating, no vodka added, etc.). You’ll find the best fit for you, and I promise it’s worth trying at least once. That said, I can also assure you it works perfectly well (and it faster, to be fair) to get one pre-made. Though it is cheating.
– approximately 1/2 cup Blackberry Mint Mojito Jam (recipe here), or other tasty jam of your choice (I’ve got some variations listed at the end)
– 1 “full” pie crust (homemade or store-bought), so that you can make two 9×12 inch sheets
– 1/4 cup milk (dairy or non) of your choice (for sealing edges)
– turbinado or raw cane sugar (Trader Joe’s or Florida Crystals are great)
– flour (to keep your work surface un-sticky)
- Preheat your oven to 375°.
- If you’ve made your pie crust from scratch, divide it into two even amounts and roll out one of those halves into a 9×12 inch rectangle. If you’re using store bought, just unwrap one of the crusts and roll it out into your best approximation of a 9×12 sheet.
- If you’ve got a nice rectangular shape, your cutting is going to go very smoothly. You’ll want to create 6 smaller rectangles of equal size and place them on either a silicone mat or parchment paper within a large baking sheet.
- If you’re using a storebought crust, do your best to cut as many 2×3 inch rectangles as you can. Then grab the remaining dough with your hands, form a ball, and roll it out into a smaller sheet. Cut your remaining rectangles from that second sheet so that you have 6 total. These are now your “bottoms.”
- Spoon about 1 tbsp of jam onto each rectangle laying in your baking sheet. Spread it out slightly so that it’s not just a little mound all in the center… but don’t let it creep too close to your edges.
- With your finger, paint the edges of each rectangle with the milk. This will help form a better bond when you lay down your top crust.
- Repeat your crust rolling and cutting process until you have 6 “tops” for your toaster tarts.
- Using a fork, crimp the edges of each tart (all around) to seal the two halves of crust together. It also happens to create a very nice little ripple effect that looks fancy and baker-y.
- Prick the top of each tart gentle with a fork to create anywhere from 4-8 little holes up top. This will let hot air escape as you bake so that nothing explodes in your oven.
- Sprinkle the top of each start with the raw cane sugar crystals. (This adds a bit of sweet and a bit of crunch, which is quite nice.)
- Bake in your 375° oven for 20-25 minutes (tarts should look golden brown). Then remove to a wire rack and let cool at least another 15-20 minutes before eating. (Otherwise the jam is scald-your-mouth hot!)
- Instead of the sugar crystals, you can sprinkle with powdered sugar or ice with a light frosting. If you choose either of these, just be sure to wait until the tarts have cooled. (So it becomes your last step rather than something you do before they go in the oven.)
- My next attempt will be Raspberry Rosemary Lemon Jam, and I’m going to either add a bit of lemon zest into the crust or ice them with a very light lemony powdered sugar icing.
- Dusting with cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom would be super tasty depending on your jam flavor. (This could be added to the sugar before the baking process.)
- I’ve also got a Strawberry Peach Basil Jam (canned earlier this summer) that I think would work well. Maybe with a light dusting of powdered sugar and cocoa? We’ll see. If it turns out well, I’ll let you know (and I’ll be posting that jam recipe at some point – I promise!)
Happy experimenting, everyone! If you happen upon a great combo – please share!