Pumpkin Cranberry Swirl Muffins
Got some leftover cran sauce? Have I got an idea for you :)
This has to be one of our most fun kitchen projects ever. We made homemade pop tarts.
Yes. They are that good. It’s like the treat that I enjoyed so much when I was a kid because I didn’t read the back of the box and then ate them in sets of two. Then I grew up and read the ingredients and Nutrition Facts, and the news was scary and ugly and I could only ever let myself eat one delicious tart at a time, or maybe half of one. THEN, I read a nice blog somewhere and learned how to make them from scratch! While they still are definitely a dessert or breakfast more than a snack, they are made with a real, flaky crust and homemade insides. And now I don’t feel guilty at all. Not a smidge.
We used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. What a great food blog, by the way – you should check it out! You will need the following for the crust:
2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into slices
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)
Mix together the dry ingredients and then add your slices (or whatever) of butter. Here again the pastry cutter is your friend, but forks or fingers work fine too. Break up the butter until almost all of the flour is touching some butter somewhere. This dough is going to behave a lot like a pie crust.
Separately, whisk the milk and the egg together and then use a wooden spoon to add them to the dough. Eventually you’ll probably want to use your hands on this. The milk and egg will not seem like much, but keep mixing until they let you form the dough into a big ball:
After the 30 minutes have passed, roll out your dough into a rectangularish shape that is twice as wide as you want two pop tarts to be. Then cut into long strips that are about 4 inches wide.
Move those long strips to a baking sheet with some kind of nonstick aid, like parchment or a silpat sheet.
Now comes the fun part. Add your filling – no more than about a heaping tablespoon – to one half of the tart. Make sure to leave at least a half -inch border around the sides so you can seal the pastries shut.
Then use your fingers to paint around the three edges you’ll need to seal with egg wash. Fold over the other half of the dough, and then seal the sides by pressing a fork into the top of the newly-formed tart.
We used homemade cherry jam for one filling, and a concoction of cinnamon and brown sugar for the other ones. They kind of resemble the ones that I got from a vending machine all the time at good old East High… they only stocked strawberry and cinnamon so I always got cinnamon.
Once you’ve sealed the sides, poke holes in the top, too, to let the steam out and make sure they stay flat.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes – and don’t overbake! When you see the slightest hint of golden brown-ness, get those babies out of the oven. Overdone pastry crust is not good eats, as Alton would say.
Then, allow to cool (!!!) ! The crust might cool down right away, but the insides will be hot. Not that I learned the hard way, or anything…
Store in an airtight container and these will stay soft for at least a week — if they last that long!