Just Peachy Baked “Pop” Tarts

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Brenda Williford’s request for hand-held pies made with dried peaches put me in mind of several things—my husbands love for mincemeat tarts was one, my own love for peaches was another, and poptarts was the inexplicable third. Working my way toward something fun drawing on all three, I received a proof of Hedy Goldsmith’s new “Baking Out Loud” due out this fall from Clarkson Potter. Familiar with Hedy as the executive pastry chef for The Genuine Hospitality Group, which runs the always ambitious Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink restaurants in Florida, I dove in, hoping for something wonderful. I was not disappointed. There, right at the front of the book, was Hedy’s recipe for homemade  poptarts! With a nod to recipe requester Brenda, I’ve combined Hedy’s pastry-crust recipe (more on Hedy’s book soon!) with my own stone-fruit filling made from dried  nectarines, peaches and apricots. My tarts are half-sized, (cut out with a ravioli cutter,) ensuring you won’t feel guilty if you have just one.

Makes 20 to 24, 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 tarts

Pastry Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) ice-cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 7 Tbsp ice water
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup fruit filling (recipe follows) Note: You will have a little filling left over–use on your breakfast toast!
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar for garnish

Peach Apricot Nectarine Filling Ingredients

  • ½ cup each dried apricots, dried nectarines, dried peaches (Note: I snipped the fruit with a kitchen shears to get it into the measuring cup–this also speeds the cooking time)
  • enough water to just cover the fruit
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Make pastry: Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar and salt until blended. Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed for four minutes. In a small bowl, mix 6 Tbsp of the ice water with the vinegar and sprinkle over the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until moist crumbles of dough form.
  2. Scrape dough onto a work surface and knead six to eight times until the mixture comes together in a smooth dough. Don’t overwork or your tarts will be tough.
  3. Divide dough into two flat, even rectangles and wrap in plastic wrap.
  4. Place a large sheet of parchment on your work surface. Unwrap one of the pieces of dough and center on the parchment; top with a second large sheet of parchment. Carefully roll out the rectangle to about 10 x 14 inches, stopping now and then to peel away the paper, dust the dough with a sprinkling of flour and reposition the paper so you don’t get wrinkles in the dough. Slide the rolled-out rectangle in parchment onto a cookie sheet  and chill in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat this process with the other piece of dough.
  5. Prepare filling: Place dried fruits in saucepan and just cover with water. Cook until fruit has “plumped” and is soft, about ten minutes. Blend with an immersion blender (hand-held wand blender) or, finely chop/mash the fruit. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Mixture should be quite thick.
  6. Prepare baking sheets: Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350. Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp ice water.
  7. Make squares: Use a kitchen shears to cut one of the chilled sheets of pastry into 20 pieces, each one a little larger than your ravioli cutter. Don’t worry if the squares are uneven, the edges will be trimmed when you use the ravioli cutter. Place one of the pastry squares on the parchment-lined cookie sheet you will bake the tarts on. Place a dollop of fruit filling in the center, a little more than a tablespoon. Brush around the edge of the pastry with egg wash. Place a second square of dough on top of the first. Centering your ravioli cutter over the square, press down to crimp/cut through both layers of dough, making a little pillow. Remove the pastry trim around the edge of the cutter.  Repeat, until you have 10 little fruit tart pillows. Pull the second chilled pastry sheet from the refrigerator and repeat the process. Using your pastry scraps, you can roll the dough out again to make a few more tarts.  Refrigerate remaining egg wash.
  8. Cover the finished tarts loosely with plastic wrap and chill for an hour until very cold.
  9. Bake tarts: Using a small knife, cut three little slashes in the top of each tart, brush with egg-wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (this has a nice golden color, and larger crystals than plain granulated sugar.)  Bake for 34 to 36 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Caution: As yummy as these look right out of the oven, do NOT bite into them yet. As Hedy says: “They are nuclear hot at this point and you’ll scorch your mouth.” Wait until they have cooled a bit.

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