Everyone has a few guilty pleasures when it comes to food. Cheese, wine, heavy carbs and such. I don’t really feel guilty about eating a rich dessert if I (or someone I know) worked hard making it. But what I do feel guilty about is eating foods that are engineered to have enormous shelf lives and could probably survive a nuclear disaster. There are not a lot of foods like that in my life anymore. But I will admit to consuming approximately one million brown sugar pop tarts during my high school and college careers.
For some reason our high school’s vending machine only ever had brown sugar and strawberry pop tarts. And after many long days of school and athletic practice followed by grueling evenings of homework, many pop tarts were consumed. But one day I read the back of the package and decided that they were no longer a reasonable snack item.
But… that doesn’t mean they aren’t a reasonable dessert item. Especially if they are homemade (see what I just did? heh heh).
Here’s what you need:
For the pastry:
6 oz AP flour (I sincerely recommend weighing it. If not, this is about a cup.)
6 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. cold shortening, cut into cubes
about 1/4 cup ice water
heavy pinch of salt
For the filling:
2 Tbsp. brown sugar per tart
In a food processor, blend the flour, butter and shortening until they have a mealy texture. Add in the salt and a few tablespoons of water at a time, and pulse again 3-4 times. Pinch the dough together – if it stays put in a ball, the pastry is ready. If it is not quite there, add a little bit more water and pulse again. When the dough stays together, remove it, form it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
After refrigeration, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the pastry out to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into even rectangles, approximately 4 inches by 6 inches (you should be able to get 10 rectangles). Move half of the pastry rectangles to a baking sheet covered in either a silpat or parchment paper.
Gently spoon the filling onto the pastry rectangles, leaving plenty of room around the edges. Top with an additional rectangle and use a fork to press down the outer edges and gently poke a few holes in the top layer of pastry.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pop tarts are very gently browned.