Anne's guilty pleasure includes a Saturday morning staple from her childhood. Marathon cartoon watching meant cereal and milk or pop tarts. Sitting on the floor, way too close to the television, watching an episode of Josie and the Pussycats while enjoying a strawberry pop tart with its crunchy sugar topping...well, that was good living.
Adapted from Veg Web and Smiiten Kitchen
Ingredients for the Strawberry Filling:
2 cups sliced strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 Tbl water
Directions for the Strawberry Filling:
In a pot, mash the strawberries to a fine pulp. Less mashing for chunky jam, and more mashing for smooth jam. Add sugar and stir. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water and stir to make a slurry. Add the cornstarch slurry to the strawberries and stir. Bring to a very heavy boil and boil for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir every 30 seconds for a total of six minutes. Add the Vanilla or Almond Extract. Pour into a container and allow to cool.
Ingredients for the Pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbl sugar
1 Sel Gris
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 Tbl milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)
Directions for the Pastry:
Whisk together the flour, sugar and Murray River Flake Salt*. Work in the butter with your fingers until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Whisk the egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. Wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
To assemble the tarts, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick. Trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cut each piece of dough into thirds to form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.
Beat the second egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a half inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough on top. Use your fingertips to press around the filling, sealing well on all sides. Press a fork around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.
Place the tarts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the tops a few times with a fork to allow steam to escape and prevent puffing. Refrigerate the tarts for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle with granulated sugar just before baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown.
*We love flake salt like Fleur de Sel or Sel Gris in pastry dough. Just as the chocolate in chocolate chip cookies is brought forward by salt, this dough benefits from a here and there crunch of salt. It's also a nice yin to the yang of sweet pie and pastry fillings.